Jun 7 — Monday of Week 10 in Ordinary Time
2 Cor 1:1-7
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven”
Today’s Gospel reading is my favourite passage from the Bible. To me, it encapsulates all that Jesus has taught. It prepares us for the suffering that we will face in our faith, but at the same time, reveals to us the gifts that will be showered upon us if we follow in the Lord. In other words, Jesus is giving a pep talk to His pilgrim church, and His words resonate through the ages to us. In fact, the Beatitudes have inspired me so deeply that my wife and I picked it as our Gospel reading for our wedding.
At the heart of the Beatitudes is Jesus’s reminder to us that we are children of God, and hence should be seeking the things of God. Nowhere in the Beatitudes does Jesus promise us material wealth or comfort. Rather, He tells us that those who suffer the opposite of material comfort are the very ones who are blessed. More importantly, the rewards that Jesus holds out to us are spiritual ones – entering the Kingdom of Heaven, being shown mercy, being called children of God, being comforted, etc.
Seen in this light, the Beatitudes resonate in St Augustine’s City of God and St Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises, both of which have also played crucial roles in my faith and spiritual formation. In their writings, both Saints are essentially reminding us that we are spiritual beings living in a material world, made in by God in His own image. All material goods and possessions pale in comparison to this fabric of divinity that we have been lovingly crafted from. While St Augustine has taught us to cast our eyes to the City of God, St Ignatius continuously reminds us, both in his teaching and in his life, that we are all pilgrims in this life.
So we must act like spiritual beings, rather than material beings. After all, God made us out of His own love and spirit, not mere clay or stone. In today’s secular society, it is often too easy to become enamoured with the wealth and glamour that money and material possessions can bring. But deep inside, we know that none of these could ever compare to the love of God. After all, why do we continually chase these material possessions? Having attained an object of our desire (whether this be money, cars, or handbags), we find ourselves dissatisfied and looking to attain yet another object.
Contrast this with the saints, all of whom have given up their material possessions and found the satisfaction of their lives in doing God’s work. If the Kingdom of Heaven is what we seek, then this is what we must do as well. No amount of money and no number of handbags can ever gain us admission to the loving embrace of our Father in Heaven.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Jacob Woo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for the grace and strength to live out your Beatitudes as Your faithful disciples.
Thanksgiving: We thank the Lord for His love and mercy, for it is through these that we are constantly saved from our own waywardness and granted admission to our eternal home.