Matthew 5:1-12 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Reflection Jesus begins his first sermon with “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” It has taken me years to arrive at what I believe Jesus means when he refers to the poor in spirit. I believe the poor in spirit are those of us who know that we are in need of blessing. Who among us does not need blessing? Yet, who among us wants to leap up, wave our arms and shout, “Here is am, poor in spirit?” Frankly, I have never heard anyone say those words, including myself. However, there are other ways to say it.
A week ago Saturday at Riverfront park during our Community Blessing of the Animals I heard teenages say, “We need blessing” Please picture this. A bevy of apostles with sunglasses, visors, a wheelchair, floppy hats milling about with Joshua the donkey and Hooligan the horse weaving in and out among unsuspecting neighbors enjoying a Saturday morning stroll, some with and some without four legged friends. Also in this picture are three collared clerics hawking blessings, waving wands of rosemary and sprinkling water on anything that moved. The extra holy water and bowls were home on a picnic table under the Bighorn Ramada. All the while an interesting thing was happening at the next door table. During the course of an hour a bevy of ten or twelve high school students gradually collected; watching and listening from a near distance. We could almost touch their curiosity.
When I asked them if it would be alright if Deacon Jon blessed them, their assent was immediate and unanimous, “Ah yes, we need blessings. He needs lots of them. She does. So does he. I sure do….” a delightful repartee. Every single one of them bowed their head to receive their blessing. A few even moved around for seconds. “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” for they know that they need blessing.
What is the take away from that experience? We are people of blessing and it is time for us to get our of our church building and deliver blessings to all the people. Who among us does not need blessing? And, who among us is not called to live in imitation of Jesus, seeing with the eyes of our hearts and being purveryors of blessing for all of humanity?
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