John 14:27: God’s Yardstick – The Law of Love – Part V
Saturday, January 23, 2016
We continue to see God’s yardstick in the New Testament.
To understand how the Beatitudes form a ladder of love and gratitude that brings us purity of heart, we began at the first rungs: Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek. We moved to the next rungs: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those who show mercy. From here we move into serenity.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” St. Paul tells us that we are God’s adopted sons and daughters. It is our brother, Jesus the Christ, who shows us this ladder of beatitudes so that we might attain our inheritance. We need only move to the uppermost rung where we see the inversion and paradox of living a Christian life.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” This may feel nonsensical. It may seem to be the opposite of what we seek and what we believe to be true. This new Law of Love may seem to be the opposite of the Old Testament Covenant where the good are rewarded and the bad reviled. But here Jesus pauses on his road to Jerusalem to preach this sermon to thousands as they recline on a hillside to tell them – and us today as we look for order and sanity – that there is a new order to things. “Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you falsely on my account.” With the Beatitudes, Jesus calls us to spiritual maturity. He asks us to be faithful in a new way. Jesus asks us to step through the narrow gate with him, to tend to the marginalized, to stand and speak when he asks us to speak, to be silent when he asks for our silence, to preserve what is holy rather than to give it to dogs. And so he gives us these final words: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
To learn about willful blindness and how one person’s determination to speak up can change the world, watch Margaret Heffernan’s Ted Talk at: https://www.ted.com/talks/margaret_heffernan_the_dangers_of_willful_blindness?language=en
Adapted from a favorite written on January 5, 2007.