June 8, 2015

Gospel MT 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.
Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
What does it mean to “be poor in spirit?”
Many years ago, Deacon John McDonough (deceased) explained to me that being poor in spirit does not mean a person has to be materially poor.
God wants his children to have all the necessities for a good life. However, the reality is, an abundance of wealth and material goods are not a guarantee of a secure life.
Being poor in spirit means that one understands that true security can only be attained from putting our trust in God.
I have known people who are wealthy and others who are destitute, both of whom lived their lives “poor in spirit.”
My dear friend Jack, who went to God last year, was a very successful business man. Deeply devoted to “his brother Jesus,” and the Blessed Mother, Jack often repeated his favorite gospel passage, “God loves a cheerful giver,” and generously contributed to causes that helped the materially poor. Although he was wealthy, Jack put his complete trust in God.
I also know Maria, a single mom who spent three months living without electricity and sleeping on the floor of her empty apartment with her two young children. The night before we arrived with her furniture, Maria evenly divided her only food, an apple, for her children’s dinner. After they had eaten, she took them on the porch to look at the stars and taught them to sing “Alleluia to the Lord” to thank God for the apple.
Material wealth may be fleeting but the security that comes from putting our trust in God is everlasting.

And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many good things put away in your building. It will be all you need for many years to come. Now rest and eat and drink and have lots of fun.”’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! Tonight your soul will be taken from you. Then who will have all the things you have put away?’ It is the same with a man who puts away riches for himself and does not have the riches of God.” Luke 12: 19-21