Jesus must have caught everyone by surprise when he spoke the Beatitudes. They have provided enough food for thought to nourish people for over 2000 years! In the form of a blessing, they are somehow alluring and mystical. Who doesn’t want to be blessed? In a few short sounds the listener grabs hold of the word “blessed” and is drawn in. For me the next words however seem to halt my eager advance, “Blessed are those who . . . are poor in spirit.” What? After a moment of relief but again I am stopped, “Blessed . . . are those who mourn.” What!?
Yes, it is my desire to be blessed — but equally my desire to avoid being poor and avoid mourning, and avoid hunger, and avoid persecution! The very things Jesus calls attention to for being worthy of a blessing are not my primary aims!
With the Covid virus on the rampage, with nearly 250,000 dead and the aftermath of a month without work, and for some the loss of a job and even food shortages on the horizon — attention is fully engaged at the words, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
Jesus doesn’t tell us what the blessed are mourning about. There are many things in life to mourn about but mostly people mourn loss. Perhaps you are suffering a loss. In a very real way Jesus is speaking to you.
We all know that the most passionate mourning is from the loss of love. People mourn when someone they love disappears, suffers, or dies. Jesus, (who is the resurrection and life) boldly affirms those who mourn. I think Jesus sides with the mourning because those who mourn usually love deeply. God love’s deeply and the mourners crying is a bit of the image of God in them.
At this time of global trial, we find ourselves mourning the loss of many things — stability, purpose, place, career, safety. Maybe even loved ones. Jesus understands. He suffered a lot of loss in his short life time. Somehow he embraced loss as if it were desirable. He looked beyond the cross to the “joy that was set before him.” (Heb. 12:2). Jesus had a very forward look at life — joy came at the end. I think that is why Jesus could give the guarantee to the mourners that they will be comforted; he understood that comfort meant reunion and restoration.
In these times — let us keep a forward view of things as Jesus did. May we treasure the “blessing” of being a mourner for we will be comforted. –BP