Today, we can read this Gospel, so well known by most of us but, at the same time, so surprising. With this fragment of The Beatitudes, Jesus offers us a model of life; some values that, He says, are the only ones that can make us truly happy.
Surely, happiness is what we all are looking for in our life. And if we would ask anyone how they are trying to be happy, or where they are looking for their own happiness, we would probably get many different answers. There would be those who would claim they only find happiness in solid Christian family principles; others, in being healthy and have a job; others, who revel in friendship and leisure time... and then, there would be those more influenced by our consumer society, who would claim that happiness consists in having plenty of money to be able to acquire as many things as possible and, most of all, to reach the highest possible social status.
The beatitudes Jesus is proposing to us are not, precisely, those our today's world is offering us. The Lord says that ‘fortunate’ will be those who are poor in spirit, the gentle, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the merciful, those with a pure heart, those who work for peace, those who are persecuted for the cause of justice... (cf. Mt 5:3-11).
This message by the Lord is addressed to those who want to live a life of unselfishness, of meekness, of desire for justice, of preoccupation and interest for the problems of their fellow men, and cast aside all the rest.
We can do a lot of good by praying, or by fraternally correcting those who criticize us for believing in God and belonging to the Church! Jesus clearly points it out in the last beatitude: “Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me” (Mt 5:11).
St. Basil says: “Beauty, nor stature, nor honors bestowed by all mankind, nor kingship itself, nor other human attribute that one might mention, do we judge great, nay, we do not even consider them worth praying for, nor do we look with admiration upon those who possess them, but our hopes lead us forward to a more distant time, and everything we do is by way of preparation for the other life.”