The third beatitude in Matthew is
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
The Beatitudes can be seen as a progression: having been poor in Spirit before God and having mourned our own faults before God we learn our own position before God and other people. Meekness is a virtue, and means we will listen to God and others and not push our own wants and wishes. We want to do God’s will and are flexible and open to God and not set in our ways.
It is ironic that the meek will inherit the earth. The normal way of things is that the proud and pushy get what they want. Perhaps there is a sense that if we do God’s will the work is of lasting value on earth.
Mother Teresa said of this beatitude, ‘Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed, you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint, you will not put yourself on a pedestal.’
The second beatitude in Matthew is
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Some bible scholars identity Isaiah 61 1:7 as the passage Jesus had in mind in the beatitudes. That old testament passage has ‘ He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted… to comfort all who mourn…’
At the time of Isaiah the Jewish people were in exile in Babylon and mourning. Psalm 137:1 says
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
By the time of Jesus they were back in Palestine but ruled over by the Romans and awaiting their Messiah. Some thought the Messiah would be a King to make the Jewish people great.
Some of us have a sense of mourning because we are separated from God. Jesus came as more than an earthly King. He came as the way back to God to those who believe in him.
We all have times of mourning when we loose somebody. We may also mourn over events in the world where people suffer through no fault of their own. We are called as followers of Jesus to be like him and bring comfort to those who mourn.
Jesus took his disciples onto a mountainside and began his teaching in what has become known as the beatitudes. Blessed are the ……. for theirs is ……
The first beatitude is ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. It can be read In Matthew’s gospel
In Luke 18 9-14 we read of two men going to pray. One was full of pride and thanked God that he was not like the tax collector. The tax collector looked down at the ground and prayed ‘God have mercy on me a sinner.’
Jesus said, ‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God.’
To be poor in spirit is to approach God with humility.
Another example is Mary, the Mother of Jesus. In the Magnificat she says in Luke 1
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me —
holy is his name….” (from NIV)