Reflecting on Matthew 5:1-12a
I’ve experienced the blessing of being poor in spirit several times. There was the day I sang a whole wedding Mass with the back of my skirt hooked on to my pantyhose. Or the time I chose a lovely silk smock from the hanger at the hair salon, and as the stylist was putting my head in the water an exceptionally kind older woman touched me on the shoulder and said, “Honey, I think you’re wearing my blouse.”
I could do this all day. My life is a series of horrible moments that have brought me this self-revelation: I am just faking it here.
And that’s the blessing. The kingdom of God is just this: a deep and joyful awareness that God is God, and I’m not. Scripture scholar Reginald Fuller said, after studying today’s reading from Zephaniah and the Gospel’s Beatitudes, “on the day of the Lord the only ground of security is humility.” Not self-hate. Not breast-beating. Just the awareness that, at any moment, the world will see that We are just faking it here. But God upholds us and strengthens us.
Try to bring back an embarrassing experience. Hold it. Let it take your breath away again. Bow your head under its terrible weight. And now wrap it around you as a warm coat, a safeguard against the cold winds of assurance, arrogance, superiority, dominance. And let the blessing warm you like a peppermint schnapps’ by the fire. God is God and you aren’t. Whew. What a huge relief. What a burden lifted. What a blessing.
In what ways has a humbling experience blessed you?
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).
Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015