How To Possess The Kingdom Of Heaven?
(Spiritual reflections on Mt 5:1-12 a)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
To own a comfortable house, have a stable job, live with a happy family, all this is just something very simple which all of us dream of. However, as a saying goes, “No pain, no gain”, we have to work harder and harder in order to make our dream a reality.
With regard to the possession of God’s Kingdom, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, sets up a list of eight requirements for us Christians to meet if we wish to be accepted into intimate relationship with God.
Generally speaking, the eight requirements together constitute a strong statement against too much dependence on material matters such as money, power and flesh desire as though an aircraft had to be detached of all forms of support and sustenance on earth in order to take off and fly into the blue sky.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This statement is by no means a condemnation of properties and possessions, much less of the rich, because money by itself is not evil. The danger lies in too much attachment to money, giving top priority to money over other moral values, to the detriment of our honesty, of our good sense of human relationship and even of our faith in God. Christ once warned us of the conflict between serving at the same time God and money.
“Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.” This means that we Christians have to confront the truth that true and lasting happiness cannot be found in this life. As long as we are still far from seeing God face to face, we have reasons to feel completely satisfied but instead we must long for the day when our hearts can find rest in God as Saint Augustine beautifully puts this in his own words: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.” God the Creator made the human person in His own image, with the four gifts that ensure each and every human being of the highest dignity over other creatures, namely intelligence, love, conscience and freedom. All forms of conflict can be solved through peaceful ways, through sincere and honest dialogue in particular. Violence, even violence in words, is not proper for us who are given the blessing of kind and wise language.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” The most loving and caring Father of all, God would be very quick in responding to the prayer of us His children whenever we ask Him for His blessing on whatever we need for our true and lasting happiness in His kingdom.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” The God Whom we believe in, the God Whom we worship, the God Whom we love, is so loving and caring that He has allowed His merciful love to prevail over His divine justice as clearly demonstrated in the life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Only Son, to save us from the power of sin and death. In return for God’s love, mercy and forgiveness towards all of us sinners, we should treat one another with compassion, understanding, love, mercy and forgiveness.
“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.” This reminds us of how to see the world and to judge people with the eyes of innocent children, always wide-open to new things, or more exactly with the gaze of Jesus Christ on the wonders of this life and of all people who came to Him for blessing, for guidance and for healing. With Jesus’ eyes, we can see our loving God even in the thick darkness of our life. With our clean conscience, we can see God even in the sinners, in the criminals and in our enemies.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” Our God is the God of peace, and he made everything in the world in harmonious and peaceful ways. All things have been set up in peace so they can live all together in peace. We know that the reason for all forms of conflicts, even armed and bloody conflicts and killings in our world is our sin. Sin separated us from God, from one another and from the living environment, the earth planet. Aware that we are children of the God of peace, we are supposed to bring peace to the people whom we meet, the people with whom we live, and to the environment in which we enjoy a comfortable life. When we bring peace we are worthy of being God’s children. Only the devil, Satan, the father of lies, the father of all forms of division and hatred, is the reason for our suffering and all forms of disaster and calamities. They are not the children of God, because God is the God of peace.
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This blessing is given to those who always fight for human rights and justice, for human compassion among peoples, among different beliefs, among different cultures, and for this they are persecuted by dictatorial regimes. Let us pray for them because they are really fighting for freedom, for human dignity. We are supposed to join them in our struggle for a better world where people of cultural and religious differences can live in peace and understanding. This is a blessing for us if because of God’s just cause we are persecuted, imprisoned and killed. We should be happy and proud of our struggle for friendly relationship among peoples and countries.
Sisters and Brothers,
We have received message from this Sunday Readings taken from the Holy Bible. When we go out of this church, we bring the message of God’s Word everywhere, to everybody whom we meet in life to be worthy of being Christians, those belonging to Christ, alive or dead, and worthy of God’s blessing.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.