The cross is the way to heaven. Standing for your conviction and for the one you love, God, when God is not who the world generally loves, that will cause all kinds of friction. The beatitudes see heaven as our end goal, the world can’t see past death. To the world, this makes no sense. Suffering makes no sense. Persecution is to be avoided at all cost and not embraced for love of God.
Martyrs – crown of glory – dying for faith. A Christian life should be a life of giving everything. By the time our life on earth is up, we shouldn’t have held any form of love back. We see that in Christ who gave us his everything, and it’s from this everything that the church is born. In giving God our everything we hope for a day when we hear him say ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’.
We see persecution in the apostles – they stayed firm in their faith and that witness itself too helped spread the word of God.
Note: John 15:18-21 – If the world hates you…
We do not try to endure persecution by our own strength, but by the power of the holy spirit.
John 15:26 – When the Counselor comes, whom I send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, will bear witness to me…’
This beatitude can be linked to the 2nd commandment – for righteousness sake is another way of saying for the sake of the name of Jesus who is righteousness itself. Being willing to hold fast to what is true even at the price of ones own life and reputation.
This beatitude challenges us to value Jesus over everything. This beatitude is put forward in Matt 5:10, in the following verse, Jesus qualifies what he means in regards ‘righteousness sake’ “Blessed are those persecuted for my sake.’ What this beatitude actually does then is to challenge us to take Christian living beyond the level of ideology and into relationship. Jesus doesn’t ask us to endure persecution for the sake of an ideology or a set of principles. He asks us to endure persecution for him, the source of all righteousness.. And that means trust. It means a living out of the prior beatitudes, such as being poor in spirit, pure in heart and meek. Living these out we learn how to trust Jesus. This is the beatitude in which that trust reaches its pinnacle. No matter what happens, no matter the cost, Jesus is Lord we love and act for.
This beatitude also asks us to willingly endure persecution for the sake of our neighbour. Where we find injustice, where we see a lack of righteousness, we must learn to see the plight of others and be moved with love at the sight of that plight. As Christians we should want to alleviate the difficulties others endure as a work of love and mercy, particularly difficulties which are caused by an injustice, for instance assisting a poor person with food or board, or giving aid to a woman harmed by domestic violence. This however is not with a view to creating some utopian society where suffering is eliminated. Jesus, when he healed, did not promise that suffering would not be part of the lives of those he healed. He instead promised that they would always know his presence and that no matter what happened, they could trust him. This is our motivation for fighting for righteousness even at the expense of our own reputation or lives. To remind those we serve of Jesus’ love. Maximilian Kolbe is an awesome example of this.
It also holds the same promise as 1st Beatitude. It take humility to take persecution well. Not everyone who suffers is sanctified by it. We have to allow our suffering to change us, to become more like Christ.
The Beatitudes are not just some lovely saying, they are powerful challenges set before us.
Padre – Valedictory dinner
Stina – LHAC – Forum Kindness – MLHD + PHN
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