Back in the day, my day, thanks to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (an American media franchise created by a comic book), we used to say that things were “totally rad.” Meaning that something was awesome. That it blew our mind. That we were amazed and taken aback.
Jesus said something “totally rad” when he spoke the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12 or Luke 6:20-23). When people in Jesus’ day heard these words, they must have been awestruck and confounded. How could Jesus say the poor and mourning were blessed? Why on earth would anyone rejoice when they were being persecuted?
Today, do we find the Beatitudes “totally rad”, or have we heard them so many times that they lack meaning?
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Be humble. Think about God, think of others.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Jesus is likely talking about mourning over our sins and our sinful nature. We all need comfort in that.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Meekness is not weakness! It is a strong combination of humility, patience, and obedience to God.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Here, Jesus is challenging us to be morally responsible and seek out justice for all and in all.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
We all need mercy. We need to give it and we need to receive it.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Those who sincerely love God will see God. It is Christ in us that gives us the power to live in a way that allows us to see God in ourselves, one another, and all around.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Children of God, don’t be discourage even though peace eludes us. Keep working at it.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This final Beatitude really ties everything together. If we are really seeking after God and following Jesus, we will be persecuted. But Jesus says this is a good thing. It means we are doing things right.