So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life.
But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator.
In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all! Colossians 3: 1-11
Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
‘Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
‘But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
‘Woe to you who are full now,
for you will be hungry.
‘Woe to you who are laughing now,
for you will mourn and weep.
‘Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets. Luke 6: 20-26
It is interesting to consider the passage from the Letter to the Colossians side-by-side with the Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. In this world, we are not hapless victims.
We stand before society as people who have been called by Christ to manifest the first fruits of the re-creation. The Beatitudes are about choices.
Saint Paul reminded his readers that everyone has the opportunity for salvation by choosing to cooperate with the grace of Christ. The risen Lord has encountered us, the sinners we are, and has invited us to allow Him to make us whole.
We must be willing to make ourselves empty so as to be filled up with the abundant blessings of the Spirit. Our ethnic background, our personality makeup, our compulsions and addictions are no excuse.
Everyone is offered the grace to follow Christ. Each one of us can choose charity over greed, can choose a spiritual path over a material path, choose love over anger, and can choose truth over deceit.
In order to enjoy eternal life, we must walk on the path of the Commandments with our hearts expanded with the in-expressible delight of love.
Knowing that we are the objects of God’s loving care, we can find peace of mind and soul when confronted with poverty, hunger, sorrow and persecution.
Saint Paul puts it quite beautifully in his second letter to the Corinthians: “We all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The children of the Kingdom are blessed because their hearts are set free to run on the path of God’s commandments. They delight in the Lord because they are rooted in Him.
We behold a reflection of Christ in the faces of those who depend on God and have placed their trust in Provident Care for them.
The obedience of faith and total dependence on the love of Christ are at the root of our transformation. We know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Saint Paul tells us: “Though he was rich, for your sake he became poor, so that by his poverty he might make you rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, enlarges our hearts to receive His abundant blessings. May we choose to live in loving devotion and total surrender to His will until that day when we shall see the Lord face-to-face.
Father Jerome Machar, OSCO