Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 John 3:1-3; Matthew 5:1-12
In many ways, today’s feast is bouncy and upbeat. In the first paragraph of our first reading, there is the call to salvation for the Chosen People. The second paragraph extends this call to persons from “every nation, race, people, and tongue.” Happily, each and every person is called to sanctity.
As the song’s lyrics state, “I want to be of that number.” John points out in the second reading that the call to be children of God may be unrecognized and misunderstood but that our faith and hope will include us among the saints.
The familiar Beatitudes are the Gospel reading today. These strange blessings are not directives on how to get ahead in life. They are not encouragement for passive acceptance of world order. They are norms of holiness because it is in our weakness, difficulties, suffering that we find God.
The Beatitudes are also norms for happiness. Who are the happiest persons I know, and why are they happy? Answers may vary, but it strikes me that the happy person is one who looks at others, self, and God and is accepting, satisfied, at peace. Such a person is not tied down by envy or status, by resentments or self-pity, by fear or scruples.
We all want to come to this kind of happiness, but it is not happiness without trial. Our painful experiences can and should be a source of growth. It is a happiness filled with faith and hope. A fifteenth Station of the Cross is sometimes proposed. I would like to propose a ninth Beatitude: “Blest are those who are accepting, are satisfied and at peace with others, self, God; happiness will be theirs in this life and in eternity.”
By Tom Schloemer