A Church in tune with the Gospel (J A Pagola)
When he wrote his version of the Beatitudes, Matthew takes a different tack than Luke as he tries to trace the qualities that should characterize the followers of Jesus. What do those qualities mean for us, as a community, in these times when our Church needs to find its best way of living in the midst of a secularized society?
In the style of Pope Francis, José Antonio Pagola offers this paraphrase of the Beatitudes, applying them to the life and ideals of Christ’s Church, today:
“Blessed the Church that is «poor in spirit» and has a simple heart, who acts without dominance or arrogance, without wealth or splendor, only sustained by Jesus’ humble authority. There, God can truly reign.
Blessed the Church who «mourns» with those who mourn and suffers as she is stripped of privileges and power, since she can better share the fate of those who lose all, thereby sharing Jesus’ destiny. One day she will be consoled by God.
Blessed the Church who renounces imposing herself by force, coercion or subjection, always practicing her Lord and Master’s gentleness. She will one day inherit the promised land.
Blessed the Church who has «hunger and thirst for justice» both within herself and for the whole world, since she will seek her own conversion and work for a more just and dignified life for all, starting with the least. Her longing will be satisfied by God.
Blessed the compassionate Church, that renounces rigorism and prefers mercy rather than sacrifice, as she welcomes sinners and doesn’t hide the Good News of Jesus from them. She will receive mercy from God.
Blessed the Church of «pure heart» and transparent conduct, who doesn’t cover up her sins or promote secrecy or ambiguity, as she walks in the truth of Jesus. One day she will see God.
Blessed the Church who «works for peace» and struggles against wars, who joins hearts and sows concord, as she spreads the peace of Jesus which the world can’t give. She will be God’s child.
Blessed the Church who suffers hostility and persecution on account of justice without fleeing martyrdom, as she learns how to mourn with victims and comes to know Jesus’ cross. There, God can truly reign..”
Today’s society needs to know Christian communities marked by this spirit of the Beatitudes. Only a Gospel Church has authority and credibility to show Jesus’ face to men and women today.