I’m in shock.
In the last 48 hours I have experienced some amazing “coincidences”. Too many to mention in one post. Keep in mind as you read this “bonus” post, that today’s Gospel reading is Matthew 5: 1 – 12 – The Beatitudes, one of my favourite passages in scripture.
I met a beautiful person on Saturday night. She was homeless.
I was at a farewell party and I noticed her standing outside on the street clutching a hot water bottle. I don’t know why but I felt compelled to go out and speak to her. So I did.
She immediately launched into conversation, excitedly. I could tell that she must have had some form of mental impairment. Whether that was caused by drug addiction or not, I can’t say, but she had both a depth and a simplicity about her which was captivating. Hair in dreadlocks, hippie pants and cigarette in hand, she spoke about her situation a little. What struck me was her innocence. Yes, perhaps she has made some bad choices but she cannot be blamed for those. At least I don’t believe she can.
She was a truly wonderful human being. At one point she said, “Yes, things are difficult, but you are given those things because you are the kind of person who can handle it.”
I heard her then and I felt as if her words were directed at me somehow. As she spoke, the Beatitudes jumped into my mind because it was as if in her they were embodied. For some reason I had been thinking about the Beatitudes quite a lot in the days leading up to this night.
I asked her if she knew what the Beatitudes were. She shook her head.
I rattled off a few, getting them a bit mixed up but the gist of it came across.
As she listened , she lifted her hot water bottle to her cheek and smiled. Her face softened and she looked at peace in that moment.
Her spirit is burned into my memory, her laughter and her childlike excitement at the various topics we spoke about.
And finally, when I said goodbye, she smiled and touched my arm and said, “God bless.”
He had just done so.
He began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
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 the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.