How happy are the poor in spirit

A huge crowd has gathered to hear Jesus. The people are drawn to him by his compassion for them and his power of healing the sick. Jesus sits down at the top of the hill, and proclaims a teaching that turns the world upside down. We know it as the Beatitudes.

The world says ‘Happy are the rich,’ but Jesus says ‘Happy are the poor in spirit.’ The world says ‘Happy are the powerful,’ but Jesus says ‘Happy are the gentle.’ The world teaches us to be ruthless, but Jesus says ‘Happy are the merciful.’ Jesus is speaking to people who live under the military power of the Roman Empire, but he says ‘Happy are the peacemakers.’

The standard that Jesus sets for his followers may seem impossible. He is teaching them the values of the kingdom of heaven – the values that he himself lives by. Jesus did not lead a revolution or try to overthrow the Romans. Instead, he founded the Church – a community of disciples who try to live by the values that he taught us. Today, we are called to be the people who change the world by living out the Beatitudes.

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