“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:12).
To be a person of faith is to be somehow radical; it is swimming against the tide, choosing the narrow path when everyone else is on the broad lane. Elijah was such a radical. He stood for God and God did not fail him. It is said that ravens are the stingiest birds on earth, yet God sent ravens to feed Elijah. There is happiness on the other side, there is a blessing for being different; for choosing God.
Jesus explains this blessing in today’s Gospel passage. When you are poor in spirit or meek or peace-loving, people may take you for a fool and try to ride on you but Jesus says heaven is yours. You will inherit the earth, you will be called a son of God.
When you forgive easily and show mercy always, people will not stop hurting you, but Jesus says your own sins will be pardoned. Guess what, even if you refuse to forgive and continue holding grudges, people will still continue to hurt you but your life will be a lot more miserable.
When you seek first God’s Kingdom and prioritize righteousness, you may not become rich and famous in the eyes of the world but Jesus says you will find true inner satisfaction and peace. When you mourn over the sinfulness and evil pervading our world and refuse to be indifferent, Jesus says you will find true comfort.
When your heart is pure; when you do not indulge in immorality, pornography, sins against the flesh and all forms of indecency, even your closest friends will consider you to be very weird. They would call you a loser for missing out on the pleasures of life but as Jesus tells us, you will see God. Sure, there is no pleasure greater than hosting God within the confines of your pure heart. You will be like Mary; you will carry God within your bosom.
If you are more than just a mere churchgoer and Christianity is not just a garment you wear, people will hate you. Sure, if you are a truthful person, if you do not consent to evil, many will try to end you. Jesus says, even at that, rejoice and be glad. Listen, you don’t have to be like everyone else. There is happiness in serving God.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the courage to follow the beatitudes. Amen. Bible Study: 1st Kings 17:1-6, Psalm 121 and Matthew 5:1-12).