Rev. 7:2-4, 9-14; 1 Jn. 3:1-3; Mt. 5:1-12a
Thomas A. Kempis who wrote the famous “Imitation of Christ” many centuries ago, said: “Jesus had many who love His heavenly kingdom, but few bear His Cross. He has many who desire consolation, but few care for trial. He finds many to share His table, but few to take part in His fasting. All desire to be happy with Him, few wish to suffer anything for Him. Many follow Him to the breaking of the Bread, but few to drinking the chalice of His passion. Many revere His miracles, few the cross”.
The saints are the few, not the many. The Book of Revelations speaks of the few. They have been through persecutions. They have had their robes washed in the blood of the Lamb. The Psalmist says that they are the people who seek God’s face, desire not worthless things. St John in the 1st Epistle saw the few as God’s children, who try to be as pure as Christ Matthew’s Gospel presents a “beatitude people”, people who could change their negative situations to positive or reverse their curse to blessings. They were a struggling community.
The “Be-Attitudes” invited the the struggling community to what they were created to be; to be the best that they could be. It was a reminder to be what we are called to be, and not what we want to be. It was in contrast to the common accepted standards and values of the day.
- The world say: Blessed are the rich, because they can have anything they want.
But Jesus says: Blessed are the poor in spirit. The saints placed their trust in God, not money or wealth. They acknowledged that they were rich in God’s eyes, because of what they were and not for what they had.
- The world says: Blessed are those who live it up and never stop having fun.
But Jesus says: Blessed are those who mourn. The saints allowed themselves to feel misfortune, pain and sorrow of others. They responded with understanding, compassion and practical acts.
- The world says: Blessed are the assertive and aggressive. who talk and act tough.
But Jesus says: Blessed are the gentle. The saints were gentle, with an inner strength. They were able to say ‘no’ to bullies and bullying.
- The world says: Blessed are those who hunger for power, status and fame.
But Jesus says: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for what is right. The saints lived God’s ways, did right and followed their good conscience.
- The world says: Blessed are those who show no mercy and who take no prisoners.
But Jesus says: Blessed are the merciful. The saints were able to forgive, and accept the sins and faults of others.
- The world says: Blessed are those with clean fingernails. sparkling eyes, gleaming teeth and unblemished skin.
But Jesus says: Blessed are those with clean hearts. The saints were known for their pure intentions. Their thoughts, words and actions flowed from a clean heart.
- The world says: Blessed are those who get even and exact revenge.
But Jesus says: Blessed are the peacemakers. The saints worked for a just and equal society, welcomed strangers and promoted understanding among peoples.
- The world says: Blessed are those who lie and cheat, and get away with it.
But Jesus says: Blessed are those who stand up for what is right and true. The saints bore sufferings and wounds with honour and integrity.
Learn from the saints to say ‘no’ to the world’s ways, and say ‘yes’ to what we were created to be, to the blessing within and to the heart of true happiness.
The Saints were the Few who Inspired.