20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. 24 "But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 "Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 "Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.
Meditation: What is the true source of joy and happiness that so many find elusive? Jesus begins his teaching on the way of the kingdom of heaven by addressing the issue of where true happiness is found. The word beatitude literally means happiness or blessedness. Jesus' way of happiness, however, demands a transformation from within -- a conversion of heart and mind which can only come about through the gift of the Holy Spirit. How can one possibly find happiness in poverty, hunger, mourning, and persecution? If we want to be filled with the joy and happiness of heaven, then we must empty ourselves of all that would shut God out of our hearts. Poverty of spirit finds ample room and joy in possessing God alone as the greatest treasure possible. Hunger of the spirit seeks nourishment and strength in God's word and Spirit. Sorrow and mourning over wasted life and sin leads to joyful freedom from the burden of guilt and oppression. God reveals to the humble of heart the true source of abundant life and happiness. Jesus promises his disciples that the joys of heaven will more than compensate for the troubles and hardships they can expect in this world. Thomas Aquinas said: No person can live without joy. That is why someone deprived of spiritual joy goes after carnal pleasures. Do you know the joy and happiness of hungering and thirsting for God alone?
"Lord, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to
everlasting happiness and peace. May I desire you above all else and find
perfect joy in doing your will."