How Beatitudes Relates To American Society, Particularly In The Area Of Religion, Economy, Politics, And Culture

Firstly, blessed are the Poor in Spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Poor in spirit is an attitude towards everything, our attachments or talents. Do we use our gifts, talents, and blessings only for ourselves or do we use them wisely to take care of others, our community, and the environment? We are called to be good stewards of what we have. In society, we must ask ourselves if we have become consumed with acquiring material goods or do we use these goods to build up or tear down the downtrodden and to benefit or improve society. Many in society do this by their unselfish contributions to charities, volunteering, and advocacy. There are dedicated and faithful mothers and fathers, teachers and missionaries, both religious and lay people, who give of themselves on a daily basis to promote the Kingdom of God. Many live a life of service, poverty, and dedication in society. Yet others in society choose to use their wealth to control others, to gain attention and secure power. It is okay to have money and luxuries, but when we allow that to keep us from serving others, then that wealth becomes a curse instead of a blessing to ourselves and God’s kingdom. In religion, the beatitudes are like a guidepost or a compass leading us to God.

Secondly, blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Sometimes, our culture says to take care of ourselves first and do not share other people’s sorrows. At times, what our society teaches is contrary to what God teaches, which is to care for others. First responders, the Red Cross, Search and Rescue crews put themselves in harm’s way to care for those who have experienced grief and sorrow. God asks us to care for the orphaned and widows in their distress. How often does our society turn our back on the weak, the immigrants or separate children from their parents? Do we visit those who are sick, suffering or dying? Do we even care? Do we belittle or degrade people in their situation?

Sometimes, that may mean making a decision to sacrifice our time and energy to go out of our way to assist another human being because they deserve that dignity and respect. In American society, many times we live in a “Me” Society. In the media and society, their messages frequently state to put yourself first, put your country first and so on. Jesus offers us a new way of life that promises peace in midst of our trials through love, service, sacrifice and caring for the weak and vulnerable in society. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Our society and cultures say go after your goals, no matter what the cost or who you must step on or hurt to get there. Are we gentle and compassionate with others or do we try to get our own way through violence, robbery, assault, lies or bullying? Do we see others as a gift from God or just a stepping stone to get what we want out of life? Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Both in politics and life, so we work hard to make sure that all people are treated equally and justly in life?

Many activists and justice seekers have tried to change laws and cultural norms for justice sake. Some recognizable people are Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Nelson Mandela. Yet, others have tried to oppress people in their country by taking away their basic rights and freedoms because they interfere with their personal goals to get ahead. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. In our society, is there an environment of tolerance and mercy? Many use conflict resolution and problem-solving to bring peace to a situation whereas others take justice into their own hands and go for anger, revenge, murder or harassment. An example of this is the prevalence of road rage on our highways. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Here, we ask ourselves if we put God first in our lives. Do we make decisions that are reflective of who we are as Christians? Do we seek God and His ways in our life? Do we pray for discernment in our life’s decisions? Many do not recognize God nor accept His teachings. They say no to God. I will not obey you. I am free to choose what I want, even if that leads to a culture of death or evil. Obedience to God is not in fashion in today’s culture. Do what feels good to you is the motto. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Again, in Society and politics, do we work to bring people together in a constructive way or do we cause dissension and conflict among people? God asks us to be peacemakers. People in the Peace Corp or those who help others in support groups for PTSD focus on solving personal and social problems in a peaceful constructive manner. God calls us to promote peace among people. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. In challenging times, do we keep trusting God and continue to stand up for what is right or are we cowards or bystanders who stand back and do nothing when there is persecution around us?

Today’s society says do not bother, do not get involved, and let them be. Yet, People like Oscar Romero fought for the rights of the poor and oppressed in society. Students protest and fight for the right to go to school without the fear or threat of being gunned down by a killer. Another such person who was persecuted for her beliefs was Malala Yousafzai. She was a young girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban gunmen while she was going to school on the school bus because she believed that girls have a right to an education. She survived and continues to advocate for the rights of girls to be educated. In conclusion, I believe that the Beatitudes contain essential wisdom from God. Many times our culture denies the relevance of the beatitudes. They are not fully understood or accepted by society. However, God gives us the freedom to choose. Do we choose or reject Jesus’ promises of blessings in our lives? This author certainly has inspired me to meditate on the beatitudes and reflect on their meaning for my life.

11 February 2020
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