TEXT: Matthew 5:1-12
TITLE: “People of the Kingdom”
THESIS: This is the way of life for people of the kingdom.
- Joy and I read each day from a Catholic devotional which includes stories of Catholic Saints. The oldest ones can be strange and “fantastic,” but most are inspiring in their faith and faithfulness toward God and people.
- Yet All Saints’ Day is not just about that kind of “saint.” It is about all of us – what the Church calls “the communion of saints.” In the NT, especially in Paul’s letters, all of God’s people are “saints” – holy ones, those who are set apart by God’s calling and grace to make the kingdom of God a reality in this world.
- All of God’s people – the people of the kingdom – are called and graced for the same kind of life, the same way of living … called to the way of following Jesus and becoming like him in all we do.
- That’s what this scripture is about – the Beatitudes – the way of life that is called “Blessed” by Jesus. Robert Schuller (The Crystal Cathedral / Hour of Power) wrote a book called “The Be-Happy Attitudes.” Cute and clever, but not accurate. This is not just about being happy, but about being truly blessed and empowered by God in our way of life, whatever comes.
- Let’s look at what this way of life – this blessed life – includes:
- Poor in spirit – Without God, we have nothing. All that we are and have is a gift from God. We trust in God for everything.
- Those who mourn – Perhaps not for ourselves, but for the world – for people who suffer, who are poor, who have lost hope … In our “mourning with” people in need, we too shall find comfort.
- The meek – Also gentle – Gentleness, kindness, humility of heart – The opposite of who most people think will inherit the earth, but the way of life Jesus taught and God wants.
- Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – Also justice … what is “right” and good for people – not what is “moral” and “up to code”/the law – When we desire and work for justice and compassion more than anything, we will be filled – have a sense “divine satisfaction” in life.
- The merciful – Also “compassion” – “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger abounding in love and faithfulness” – The people of the kingdom/of God are to be like God.
- The pure in heart – A single-mindedness in life – “pure”=”without alloy”/without mixture – with a desire and will in life to do what God desires and to follow Jesus in all we do. – Then we shall “see” God, for we will be like God.
- The peacemakers – Seek peace and pursue it. – As much as it is in your power, be at peace with all. – Not the absence of conflict, but a desire to transform it. – Living in the midst of chaos without anxiety and fear, at peace with God and ourselves. – They shall be children of God.
- Those who are persecuted for justice … when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. – Not because of our beliefs or a commitment to cultural and social issues (pro life or family values) – but because of Jesus, because we are living in the ways Jesus has just spoken of. – This is the way of the kingdom. Then we are the people of the kingdom.
- On this All Saints’ Day, may we commit ourselves again to living as God’s holy people – the holy ones, the saints of God – the people of the kingdom:
- Trust God for everything.
- Mourn with the world.
- Be gentle and humble of heart.
- Desire justice for all people.
- Be compassionate.
- Pursue peace with everyone.
- Live as Jesus taught in the face of all opposition.
- We are the saints of God and people of the kingdom. – Let us live like it every day.