A CHURCH MORE ACCORDING TO THE GOSPEL
When he wrote the Beatitudes, Matthew takes a different tack than Luke as he tries to trace the lines that should characterize Jesus’ followers. That’s where its importance lies for us in these times when the Church needs to go about finding her appropriate way of living in the midst of a secularized society.
It’s not possible to put forth Jesus’ Good News in just any old way. The Gospel can only be spread from Gospel attitudes. The Beatitudes spell out the spirit that must inspire the way to put the Church into practice as she travels on pilgrimage to the Father. We need to listen to them with an attitude of personal and communal conversion. That’s the only way we can walk toward the future.
Blessed the Church that is «poor in spirit» and has a simple heart, who acts without dominance or arrogance, without wealth or splendor, only sustained by Jesus’ humble authority. Of her is God’s Reign.
Blessed the Church who «cries» with those who cry and suffers as she is stripped of privileges and power, since she can better share the fate of those who lose all, thereby sharing Jesus’ destiny. One day she will be consoled by God.
Blessed the Church who renounces imposing herself by force, coercion, or subjection, always practicing her Lord and Master’s gentleness. She will one day inherit the promised land.
Blessed the Church who has «hunger and thirst for justice» within herself and for the whole world, since she will seek her own conversion and work for a most just and dignified life for all, starting with the least. Her longing will be sated by God.
Blessed the compassionate Church who renounces rigorism and prefers mercy rather than sacrifice, as she welcomes sinners and doesn’t hide the Good News of Jesus from them. She will receive mercy from God.
Blessed the Church of «pure heart» and transparent conduct, who doesn’t cover up her sins or promote secrecy or ambiguity, as she walks in the truth of Jesus. One day she will see God.
Blessed the Church who «works for peace» and struggles against wars, who joins hearts and sows concord, as she spreads the peace of Jesus which the world can’t give. She will be God’s child.
Blessed the Church who suffers hostility and persecution on account of justice without fleeing martyrdom, as she learns how to mourn with victims and comes to know Jesus’ cross. Of her is God’s Reign.
Today’s society needs to know Christian communities marked by this spirit of the Beatitudes. Only a Gospel Church has authority and credibility to show Jesus’ face to men and women today.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf