The Beatitudes in the Solemnity of All Saints define justice.


MLK quote“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me…”

The above describes a saint. “The use of chiasmus as a rhetorical device dates back to the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. Greeks developed an unmatched inclination for this device and made it an essential part of the art of oration.” The Beatitudes is an example of chiasmus. As we look at the rearranged structure we learn the meaning of the key words.

The emphasis is upon the poor in spirit, the persecuted. This is mentioned in the first verse of the passage, in the next to the last, and in the last. Those suffering persecution inherit the kingdom of God.

Those who mourn are peacemakers. Those who have seen the bestiality of war, the guts spilled out on the ground, the smell of rotting and burning flesh, dying women and children, sons sent off to serve Molech, Hebrew for King, become peacemakers.

The pure heart are meek, comparing themselves to God in every person they see. Halloween teaches us to see the ghost and goblin in all of us. In Halloween we die with Christ. Seeing our faults, we cannot help but to become meek, and this is the pure of heart. On all Saints we rise with Christ.

Statue of liberty lighning strikeIn Semitic thought, mercy and justice are related. The righteous are those remembering what it was like to suffer, remember their rescue, and desire to bring this mercy to others. This is mercy and justice.

John embellishes upon “Children of God.” “We are God’s children now… We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope based on him makes himself pure, as he is pure.”

“Nation,” comes a Latin root meaning to be born. We are all born together, by common heritage, the New Colossus on the Statue of Liberty, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and American heritage relate what this means. Catholics all, we are all family. Americans all, we are all family.

Justice is seeing everyone we see as family, showing mercy, and meekness, to all we see, mourning with them in their suffering, and doing something to end that suffering. We will be persecuted and slandered. Welcome to the Catholic religion. Your reward will be great in God’s kingdom.

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