In a short while, the race for President of the United States will begin, again. Each candidate will have to reveal his or her platform. This will give us an idea what kind of a leader this person will be, or would like to be, for our country. We have the freedom to accept that candidate or reject her/him. It is the same with Jesus. In this week-end's Gospel, we have the platform on which Jesus was going to base his mission and his Ministry. We have the freedom to accept or reject this platform, this vision of The God-man. His revelation is The revelation of The Father as well. Everything Jesus speaks has been given to Him by the Father. He in turn, has been blessed with the self same message. This is a vision we must not keep to ourselves, but share with those who will be placed on our path.
Last week we were told to repent, to adopt a new way of seeing. This week in the Beatitudes we are provided with the lenses with which provide a new way, of not just looking but actually, seeing. We are asked to repent. We are to not just told to look, but actually to see what action must be taken so we can know we are on the right path and have the proper lenses to provide us with good, orderly direction. The first Beatitude provides you and I with an underlying message of hope and encouragement. In saying “How blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs is the Kingdom of heaven", we are being told when you get to that place in the looking and seeing, you get discouraged, and or disappointed with what you have to face about yourself, listen to this. In that place where your weakness, failure, and brokenness is revealed, you are in the best possible place. This place where we would never allow anybody else into is the place where the fullness of a God of mercy and compassion is revealed to you and I. For entrance into The Kingdom, is not and I repeat NOT based on world, or society values but on the spiritual value of powerlessness. Power, success, control will allow us to advance in the estimation of the world, but in the realm that really counts we are slowly regressing into our own made hell. We will end up in that place where there is no real love, no real peace, and no lasting joy.
We will eventually get to that place where the question will be asked, and listened to, "Is this all there is, there must be more to this in life?”. We must all pray for that question to surface in our lives, otherwise we will live not life but an empty, existence. That question hopefully will lead to a reflection on what has real meaning, and what has lasting value. We will have to take the necessary step of getting to that place where we will face our limitedness, our humanness, and be lead forth to a place of real freedom and real happiness. A freedom that cannot be taken away, only surrendered. We make that surrender when we deny the true Gospel value of, “poverty of spirit”, and be seduced again by the attraction of power, property and prestige. The battle is life-long. It is an everyday, and an every moment battle. It is a battle we do not enter alone, we grow in the knowledge that the tougher the going, the harder the slog, the closer our God is to us. So, it is in that weakest moment, when we feel most lost and most abandoned, the closer our God is to us and in the holding of us. What a blessing then weakness is. How blessed we are, that our God knows that in that place we spend so much of our life's journey He has chosen to make His dwelling place. I am not suggesting we rush to that place of weakness, failure and poverty, but when we arrive in that horrendous place, we will find it to be a place of transformation, and transfiguration. A place of blessing, not a place of cursedness.
The following is a quotation from The Little Flower. I introduced her last weekend as St. Theresa of Lisieux. She has written the following;
"I understand why Peter fell...He was relying on himself...I'm sure that if St. Peter had said humble to Jesus; ‘Give me the grace I beg you to follow you to death’, he would have received it immediately...And Jesus could have said to St. Peter, ‘Ask me for the strength to accomplish what you want’. But no, he didn't because he wanted to show him his weakness and because, before ruling the church that is filled with sinners, he had to experience for himself what man is able to do without God's help. Before Peter fell, Jesus had said to him, “And once you're converted, strengthen your brethren’. [This means; Convince them of the weakness of human strength through your own experience.]"
So as it was, so it is, and so it shall ever be, until the end of time. We all have a story of hope, and healing. The story is not for ourselves, it has been given, to be shared. In the telling we will again and again be brought to that opening plank of the platform we are called and chosen to implement, "How blessed are the poor in spirit, theirs IS the kingdom of heaven".