Once again, Jesus presents us with a holy paradox here. This Beatitude, like all the others, is rooted in the wisdom of God, not that of any human origin. In our time, the wisdom of God is often interpreted as madness. The wisdom of the world argues that you have to be number one in order to be counted as valuable. Winning is everything, no matter the cost to one’s self, or to others. This kind of social environment becomes nothing more than a dog-eat-dog world. Sound familiar?
Jesus challenges this worldview when he says, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the world.” We need to remember that this very same idea is expressed in Psalm 37, verse 11. At the time it was written in that psalm, it was understood to mean that the meek, that is the Jewish people, who were small in number, and often attacked from every side, would eventually come to inherit the land, that is, Israel, forever. But Jesus broadens that understanding to its ultimate end here. When he says the meek will inherit the earth, he means the kingdom of God.
This is where we need to focus our attention with this verse. We are meant to inherit the kingdom of God, that is our hoped for destiny. But Jesus is telling us that the kingdom is not gained through earthly powers, or wealth, or worldly fame of any kind. Rather it is gained through meekness.
What is this meekness that Jesus is talking about here? This meekness is not passiveness. It is not an attitude of allowing others to “walk all over us.” Rather it is a humble and active obedience to the will of God. It is a patience that is strong enough to endure the costs that might come one’s way for obeying God’s will in this world. It does not bend to the ways of worldly wisdoms for the sake of immediate rewards, or to avoid suffering. Those who humbly remain true to the wisdom of God, will be given the graces they need to be able to endure the suffering that comes their way with patient endurance. They will even be strong enough to forgive their persecutors, and to pray for their conversion. This is the meekness that will inherit the kingdom of God. Here we remember Jesus’ admonition to his apostles, “So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.” (Matthew 20) This is the holy paradox of the wisdom of God. Are we willing to be meek in the face of the immoral challenges of our own time? That is the question every Christian must ask him or herself.
Lord, give us the courage of our faith to recognize your wisdom in all things and to humbly bend our wills to it, even in the face of the ridicule that may come to us from those who are counted as important and great by the worldly today. In you alone is there true joy. We pray this prayer in your name, Jesus. Amen!
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