4th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): People of the Kingdom
(Adults, you could begin by lighting a candle and reading the Word of God to your child. Alternatively, you could simply read the reflection all the way through, pointing out the parts that come straight from the Word.)
In the Bible, we often hear about Jesus teaching people about the Kingdom of God. Jesus understands that we need to know about the Kingdom. He knows that when we set out to play a game with our friends, we first sit down to work out the rules. We want to know who can play. We want to know how to play well. Jesus understands that we need to know these things about the Kingdom of God. So he sits down and lets us look for a moment into the mind of God to see how God thinks.
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
Jesus uses the word, "Blessed." We remember that Mary's cousin Elizabeth calls her
The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she has
found favour with God.
Mary is blessed because she has found favour with God. God is pleased with her.
Jesus says that the poor in spirit are blessed. These are the people who do not puff themselves up, who do not show off, who are small before God. They are humble. And God lifts them up. Theirs is the Kingdom. It belongs to them. God is pleased with them.
Do we know people who are humble, who let God lift them up? These are people of the Kingdom.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
People who mourn have lost someone or something that they love. They love so much that it hurts. They are blessed because they love like God loves and God will comfort them. They have found favour with God.
Do we know people who love so much it hurts? These are people of the Kingdom.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
The word that St. Matthew writes here is praus. A lion is praus when it holds back its power to hurt and to kill, when it is gentle instead. People who choose to be gentle instead of using power to hurt are blessed. God is pleased with them.
Do we know people with power but choose to be gentle? These are people of the Kingdom.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
These blessed people are hungry and thirsty not for food and water, but only for that which is good, that which is holy. Only the holy—only God—will satisfy them. They have found favour with God.
Do we know people who only want God? They might help us know God. These are people of the Kingdom.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
People who forgive others, who give the gift of forgiveness to someone who does not deserve it, are merciful. These people are like God for God is the One with the gift of mercy. When they show mercy, when they forgive, they are blessed. God is pleased with them.
Do we know people who forgive? Perhaps someone has forgiven us, even though we did something or said something bad. These are people of the Kingdom.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
The pure in heart are those who are good. They are the people who keep their eyes on God no matter what. They have found favour with God.
Do we know people who are good, who always keep their eyes on God? These are the people of the Kingdom.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Peace is a fruit—a sign—that they Holy Spirit is working. We certainly know people who make peace—who work to end fighting, to solve problems, to speak softly where there is shouting. When they make peace, we know the Holy Spirit is there. These are not just people of the Kingdom; they are children of God. God is pleased with them.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God.
People who are holy and good get made fun of because they are different. People who choose what is right make those who choose otherwise angry and annoyed. People exclude them—leave them out—because they do not want to be reminded of what is good and holy. Jesus says they are blessed. Jesus says the Kingdom of God belongs to them. They have found favour with God.
Do we know people who are holy and good and get made fun of? These are people of the Kingdom.
Jesus tells us who belongs to the Kingdom. Now we know a bit more about how God thinks. We know the rules. We know how to play. We can see how to belong, how to be a part of this Kingdom. It sounds pretty good.
Do we know anyone who does all these things?
Someone who is humble, who lets God lift him up...
Who loves so much it hurts...
Someone with power but chooses to be gentle...
Who only wants God and helps us know God...
Someone who forgives, who has even forgiven us...
Who is good, who always keep his eyes on God...
Someone who makes peace, who has the Holy Spirit with him, who is the Son of God..
Who is so holy and good, that those who do wrong make fun of him, and persecute him, and put him to death...
This is not a person of the Kingdom. This is the King!
And then he says,
“Blessed are you
The King is inviting us to play! He is inviting us to be part of the Kingdom, too!
And we know how.