“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matt 5:1).
The church ends the Easter season with Pentecost, then begins the long months of “Ordinary Time.” We have had 50 days to ponder the pattern Jesus left us: Die to yourself and rise again to love God and one another in humble, self-emptying service. This is the Paschal Mystery, our union with the crucified and risen Christ, who is now present and active in the world though us, the members of his body, now animated by the gift of his Holy Spirit.
Discipleship begins with the challenge of the Beatitudes. See what happens if you live your life like this – poor in spirit, meek, hungry and thirsty for justice, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, enduring resistance with joy. Only the Holy Spirit can make a life like this possible, but begin, one day at a time, one step after another in the direction of greater union with God, now present on the earth through you. Find companions for the journey – other disciples just as hesitant and skeptical as you. Don't be afraid. Try it together, see what happens, go forward.
The pope prays and plants an olive tree in the garden behind the Vatican with representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli people. As the tree grows, so may peace in that troubled “holy” land, slowly taking root, watered with tears, nourished by hope. This is what the Beatitudes look like, foolish and impractical, gestures and words, yet able to bend the arc of history toward justice. What the mind refuses to accept, the heart knows. A different world is possible. A different world is necessary.