When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain. He sat down and his disciples gathered around him. Then he spoke and began to teach them:
Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Fortunate are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.
Fortunate are the gentle; they shall possess the land.
Fortunate are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.
Fortunate are the merciful, for they shall find mercy.
Fortunate are those with pure hearts, for they shall see God.
Fortunate are those who work for peace; they shall be called children of God.
Fortunate are those who are persecuted for the cause of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Fortunate are you, when people insult you and persecute you and speak all kinds of evil against you because you are my followers. Be glad and joyful, for a great reward is kept for you in God. For that is how this people persecuted the prophets who lived before you.
Imagine this scenario. Two women enter a shopping mall. Let us call them Mrs. Avid and Mrs. Contented. Mrs. Avid is tempted to buy everything she lays her eyes on. The wrappings are so colorful, the sales’ pitch so convincing, the products so enticing … And she actually goes on a shopping spree and ends up buying a lot of things she doesn’t really need. The other woman, Mrs. Contented, duly admires the displays of merchandise, the cleverness with which they are presented and the glittering wrappings. But she needs very little to be happy. At this moment she heaves a sigh of satisfaction and thinks: “I am rich of all the things I don’t want or need. Surely, I am the richest woman in this store.”
Her state of mind reflects the first Beatitude in today’s gospel reading. The poor in spirit are those who, like Mrs. Contented, are serenely detached. They are not tormented by the obsession to acquire useless gadgets, to live up to the Jones, to be up-to-date. They are satisfied with little. Jesus calls them “blessed,” and that is precisely what they are. And, paradoxically, the poor in spirit are the truly rich people of this world.
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