Scripture Reading Matthew: 5:3
Pope Francis said, “At a time when so many people are suffering as a result of the financial crisis, it might seem strange to link poverty and happiness. How can we consider poverty a blessing?” William Barclay help us to understand that in Hebrew, the word poor was used to describe the humble and the helpless people who put their whole trust in God. To be poor in this sense means to totally dependent on God.
The modern man seeks happiness in material possessions and achievements. The carnal man is proud of his wealth and self-reliance. A lot of us depend on our knowledge, experiences, wealth, positions, connections, and abilities; but the poor in the spirit is emptied of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. The poor in spirit confesses “of myself I can do nothing”. To be poor in spirit means to have a sense of inadequacy and spiritual bankruptcy. It means to have a deep sense of dependency on God irrespective of one social status or worldly possession.
Pope Francis continued, “You might ask me, then: What can we do, specifically, to make poverty in spirit a way of life, a real part of our own lives? I will reply by saying … Try to be free with regard to material things. The Lord calls us to a Gospel lifestyle marked by sobriety, by a refusal to yield to the culture of consumerism. This means being concerned with the essentials and learning to do without all those unneeded extras which hem us in. Let us learn to be detached from possessiveness and from the idolatry of money and lavish spending. Let us put Jesus first. He can free us from the kinds of idol-worship which enslave us. Put your trust in God.”
“Blessed are those who have realised their own utter helplessness, and who have put their whole trust in God”, they are completely detached from material things; they know that things do not bring happiness or security; so they are completely attached to God, for God alone can bring help, joy and peace. Hence, Alexander Pope says, “Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed”. Those who are poor in spirit have realized that things (money, power, knowledge, etc.) mean nothing and God alone means everything.
Acts 2:36-41; Ps 33:4-5.18-19.20.22 (R.5b); Accl Ps 118:24; Gosp Jn 20:11-18 OCTAVE OF EASTER
1. Lord Jesus, we are reminded today that Your blessings do not necessarily follow the logic of the world. The world believes that the rich are blessed, but You remind us that it is the poor who are blessed; the poor in spirit. Keep us from being excessively preoccupied with money and worldly goods, and trying to increase them at the expense of Your kingdom. Keep us from falling into the temptation of relying on self, money, and connections, but to depend on You for everything. Amen.
Exercise: Reflect deeply on your reliance on things other than God.
Meditation: Psalms 35:10.