>Kingdom of God 101
>The Gospel for our commemoration of All Saints on November 4th was Luke 6:2o-31, the Beatitudes. My image of this event in the life of Christ and the Church is one of those MGM-cinematic moments: a pastoral setting, lush greenery, thousands upon thousands of people crowded around Jesus to hear him preach, birds and creatures coming near.
What if the setting was actually somewhere in the Judean desert or hills, one of those hiding places the Jews used to meet away from the prying eyes of the Romans? What if it was a political manifesto for a movement? Just think how revolutionary it sounds: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.”
Jesus was preaching something quite revolutionary for the time. In preaching this unique idea that all are welcome and part of the kingdom of Heaven, he was turning the norm of society upon its head. The society in which Jesus lived was one where the poorest of the poor were ignored, stepped over as they begged in the streets; the only people treated with less cordiality and compassion were those unfortunates called lepers.
Imagine how the Temple authorities must have reacted when they heard this new line of thinking. It was nothing like everything they ever thought, believed and were taught.
I like to think of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Plain (or Mount, if you’re reading Matthew) as Kingdom of God 101. Within this beautiful homily Jesus sets down what the Kingdom of God should be and tells us how to be a part of it, with compassion, love and a bit of sarcastic humor, I think.
Looking at this scripture through a lens of two thousand odd years, it’s still an excellent rule of life. In a time when corporations are spending hours on drafting mission statements to define their work and purpose, they need only look this far.