Readings for November 1, 2020
Revelation 7:2-4, 9-14
1 John 3:1-3
I am fully aware of my tendencies toward melancholy, sometimes washed in a nice warm bath of cynicism. I used to be more adept at channeling my negativity into anger, but as I have tried to stem that tide, my melancholy has become more and more unmasked. Jesus suggests, however, that many of the things that can bring me down are, instead, blessings, and that those blessings should bring me happiness. At the start of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus lays out the beatitudes, a list of things I should count as blessings, though I perhaps have more often viewed them as shortcomings.
In total, Matthew’s Gospel passage lays out eleven things we should see as blessings. Interestingly, I count nine of the things on the list as things we’ll need to suffer through in order to achieve something better at a later time. Jesus says those who mourn WILL BE comforted, those who hunger and thirst WILL BE filled, and on through the list. Clearly, there is reward in perseverance. But sometimes, I must admit, I wonder what’s in it for me right now?
Knowing the human heart, Jesus offers me a little something to hang my hat on. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” and “Blessed are those who are persecuted for their righteousness,” because “theirs IS the Kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit, as well as the persecuted, are the humble in this world. If I am able to drum up some humility with my faith, a humility that has me clinging to the Word of God and selflessly loving those around me, the Kingdom of heaven will be what is in it for me, here and now.
What could make me more happy, what could give me more joy, than knowing that the Kingdom of heaven, the summit of my faith and the fulfilment of all God’s promises, is mine? Right here. Right now. When the suffering is lifted by the fullness of God, then all the other things I need to wait for are, indeed, blessings. So praise God and pass the biscuits, I am at the table and ready to feast!
My Lord Jesus, teach me your humility that I may live in the presence of the Kingdom of God. May the joy of the Kingdom lead me to perseverance in hope and through faith that all things come together unto God for those who believe in you. Amen