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Beatitudes Gospel Scripture Uncategorized

Desire and fulfilment

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Jesus says to his followers:

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness they shall have their fill.”

It seems to me that the heart of this beatitude is desire and passion. At its heart is the passion of love that fuels our desire for communion with God. That love does not exist in a vacuum, our loving relationship with God soon spills over into a concern for the well-being of others. Our knowledge of God leads us to care passionately for all God’s creatures. It leads us to want to build communities based on fairness, justice, respect and equality for all God’s children.

This can quickly come to seem like an impossible task, and it can be very easy to feel overwhelmed by the needs of the world. This beatitude shows us a way to around that. If our care for others comes from our relationship of love with God, we have a sustaining source to nurture us when we feel overwhelmed by the suffering we see around us.

Prayer keeps us humble, able to acknowledge and accept the limitations of our actions. It can remind us that we can’t (and are not called) to solve all the worlds problems. It can compel us to do what we can to alleviate the suffering in front of us, however large or small that is, and to put the rest into the hands of the God whose love sustains us all.

How is your desire for justice fuelled by your prayer?

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Beatitudes Gospel Sermon on the Mount Uncategorized

Mourning and consolation

Photo by Külli Kittus on Unsplash

Jesus tells his followers:
“Blessed that those who mourn: they shall be comforted.”
In the wake of the Covid pandemic this third Beatitude seems particularly relevant. It resonates deeply with the experience we’ve lived through in the past 18 months. Suffering, and the grief and mourning it brings has always been part of human experience, but they are particularly present in the face of a pandemic that has left us with much to grieve over.

Our grief covers a whole spectrum. There are the griefs that we recognise as significant and life changing, and there are other griefs that we dismiss as small or less significant. Wherever our grief falls on that spectrum Covid has left us all mourning. As we begin tentatively to rebuild our lives it’s tempting to turn away from that truth, to push it aside, denying it or burying it.

Jesus calls us to take a different approach. In his life he was not afraid to acknowledge his pain. He wept openly with Martha and Mary at the death of their brother, and again over the fate of Jerusalem. To show our pain can leave us feeling vulnerable and exposed, especially in a society that expects us to be in control and on top of things. This beatitude reminds us that it’s important to acknowledge and to share our grief. It is by creating spaces in our lives where we can mourn our losses together that we will find the comfort and consolation that Jesus promises us.

Where do you need to be consoled at this time in your life?

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Beatitudes Gospel Sermon on the Mount Uncategorized

Learning gentleness

Image by Pezibear from Pixabay

“Blessed are the gentle, they shall inherit the earth.”

In many ways this sums up all of the Beatitudes, and the whole gospel message. At its heart is the call to love as Jesus did, without distinction or discrimination, not asking if the love is deserved, acknowledge or even recognised.

Gentleness is not a fashionable attribute. In times like ours that value assertiveness and individualism it can be dismissed as weakness. In this beatitude, and in the gospel as a whole, Jesus shows us another way. He openly proclaims that he is gentle saying:

“Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

His gentleness is apparent throughout the gospel in the loving service he offers to those around him. From the wedding at Cana to the post resurrection breakfast he cooks on the shore, his life is marked by a real desire to care for those around him. We see it when he refuses to turn the crowds away hungry even though his disciples tell him that the don’t have enough food. It’s apparent as he weeps over Jerusalem, and as he comforts his mother and beloved disciple from the cross.

This gentleness is very far from being weakness. It has a strength that can build and maintain communities and relationships even in the toughest of circumstances. Imitating the gentleness of Christ leads us to those daily acts of kindness that renew and sustain our neighbours and our communities. It calls us to a myriad of actions that, while they may seem small, can make people feel valued, cared for and safe.

How are you being called to learn gentleness today?