sexta-feira, 21 de outubro de 2016


Now when Jesus saw the crowds,
he went up on a mountainside and sat down.
His disciples came to him,
and he began to teach them. He said:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted
because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you,
persecute you and falsely say
all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
because great is your reward in heaven,
for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you
Matthew 5:1-12 NIV

It seems absurd: happiness linked to poverty, tears, hunger, thirst, suffering and persecution. Everyone knows that it is all disgrace and only leads to sadness. We strive to not be poor, not to be hungry or thirsty and to be well liked by everybody. The preaching of popular religion envisions a salvation that rids of unpleasantness, inconvenience and the effects of evils that surround us. Prosperity is considered to be a sign of divine blessing.

But the spirituality of Jesus does not follow the rules of popular religion. The values are reversed. What seems to be disgrace is really grace. Jesus gave the following examples:

POOR IN SPIRIT: True happiness comes when we recognize our spiritual poverty and its limitations. It prevents us from spending energy to delude ourselves about imaginary grandeur. Accepting who we really are is the starting point for real spiritual growth.

THOSE WHO MOURN: Being in touch with our true feelings makes it possible to work through them. In that way tears can be labor pains that lead to new possibilities in life. A cry in the night can become the joy of the birth of a new day.

THE MEEK: Arrogance is self-destructive, and its victories are imaginary and short lived. Humility is constructive, and its defeats are only apparent. A seed falls to the ground, is buried and apparently dies, but sprouts forth to produce a noble plant.

HUNGER AND THIRST FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS: Seeking qualities rather than things can give true satisfaction. Pursuing wealth can only increase our hunger and thirst for more wealth. Seeking moral and ethical qualities can give us the satisfaction of contributing to a better world. Consumerism is self-seeking and frustrating. Altruism seeks a better world for everybody and its pursuit is satisfying in itself.

MERCIFUL: We reap what we sow. Violence begets more violence. Mercy is capable of breaking the vicious circle of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth which is creating a world of the blind and the toothless. Hope lies with those who refuse to take up arms and to live out what Jesus taught about taking up the cross and showing mercy.

PURE IN HEART: We do not see the world as it is but as we are. When we pass judgment on others we are really judging ourselves. The good and the evil that we see in others is really a projection of who we are. Expressions of hate and of love reveal who we are. Love is able to see the good while hate sees only evil.

PEACEMAKERS: Our culture glorifies those who go to war under the illusion of protecting us. As a result, wars are becoming more frequent and violent and we are becoming more and more unsafe. Peacemakers are despised or ignored, because they are a threat to the global economy of war. Unless peacemakers become our heroes and viewed as the true “children of God” we are doomed to extinction.

PERSECUTED: True happiness is in doing what is right regardless of the consequences. The children of the kingdom are not persecutors, but they are often persecuted. Our culture conditions us that “rightness” is to be well liked, blend in with the majority and stay on top of things. The poor, the unemployed, the immigrant, the elderly, the ethnic minorities and all who do not conform to social norms are suspect and discriminated along with those who relate to them in a compassionate way. But according to Jesus they may be the true “Children of the Kingdom” and have reason to rejoice.

FALSELY SAY ALL KINDS OF EVIL AGAINST YOU: Happiness is to know that the slander of others is unfounded. Those who are within the power structure project their own evil on those who are the victims. Those who reap great benefits from their political, social and economically privileged positions accuse the downtrodden as being the leaches that cause poverty. The downtrodden know their own suffering and hope for eventual justice.

This is not something new. It has always been the case in civilization as we know it. But today, with overpopulation and advanced technology, it is much more critical than ever before. We can use the expectation of divine intervention as a copout to correct a situation that humans have produced and which humankind can correct. It’s up to us, and eternity is not ours.

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