Today’s Gospel: Mathew 5, 1:2
1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. 5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. 6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. 7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. 8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. 9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.
I was thinking today, yet again, of how paltry and weak seem the attributes listed in the Beatitudes. Here we are in the post-capitalist, pre-Apocalypse (I’m joking) West in which meekness, peacemaking, humility and righteousness will barely get you though the day, let alone a life. Blessed, rather are the devious, for they will get their retaliation in first and you, on the other hand, are a mug…Blessed are the bad-tempered, for they shall secure a seat on the Underground. Blessed are the sanctimonious, for they shall receive a column in the Guardian.
But – let’s keep on keeping on. Let’s strive for, for example, purity of heart. Let us practise mercy, even towards the merciless. These were not easy exhortations in Biblical times. They are not easy now. Let us be, then, preposterous for Christ.