Wednesday, 22nd Week OT A
Today’s readings speak to the problem of worldly attachments, of valuing the things of this world more than we value the things of God.
In our first reading Paul tells us that the world as we know it today is passing away. That we should not depend on the circumstances of our lives to determine whether or not we are happy.
The idea that “if only I had THIS, then I would be happy” is an illusion. If only I were married, I would be happy. If only I were single, I would be happy. He’s telling us that true happiness comes from accepting our current state in life and keeping our eyes on our heavenly homeland.
In today’s gospel, when Jesus began to teach his disciples in the Sermon on the Mount, he gave them a “way of happiness” that transcends every difficulty and trouble that can weigh us down with grief and despair. Jesus began his teaching by addressing the issue of where true happiness can be found.
The word beatitude literally means happiness or blessedness. Jesus’ way of happiness, however, demands a transformation from within – a conversion of heart and mind which can only come about through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit.
How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? If we want to be filled with the joy and happiness of heaven, then we must empty ourselves of all that would shut God out of our hearts.
Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God alone as the greatest treasure possible. One who is poor in spirit is not greedy.
Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God’s word and Spirit.
Sorrow and mourning over our sins leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and oppression. One who mourns is humble.
One who is persecuted and insulted on account of the Son of Man is actually blessed. Why? Because standing up for the values of the Kingdom of Heaven is standing for that which lasts, not that which is passing and ever-changing.
One who is merciful gives away his own goods, goods that others need more than we do. This leads to a joy of knowing that we have shared our gifts, rather than hoarding them for ourselves.
We must not seek the things of the world that bring only fleeting, momentary happiness. Rather, we must pursue those things that are eternal if we are to experience true happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships we can expect in this world.
Today let us examine our priorities to see how we might change our attitudes toward the things of this world so as to value even more the things of God.
God bless you.