The Beatitudes are the series of statements made by Jesus to be found in Matthew 5:3-12 and Luke 6:2-23. They are the blessings bestowed by God on the faithful. Depending upon the translation of the Bible, the statements begin with the words ‘Blessed’ or ‘Happy’, but the basic meaning of the Hebrew root word is ‘straight’ or ‘in the right direction’, implying being both in right relationship with God and in God’s will for humanity.
Through the Beatitudes, Jesus calls us to a new way of life, with different values and objectives from those we typically see in the world around us. From Matthew’s Gospel, we read:
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people 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 in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Jesus made these pronouncements to a crowd of people. With the social distancing measures currently in place, we can’t be part of a crowd. Do the words speak to you, either now or have done so at some point in your life? Are they a source of comfort or do they feel other-worldly? How do you think/imagine the original hearers might have heard them?