Most of us have had the experience of putting something together, like a piece of furniture or that dreaded toy that Santa left that needs to be put together on Christmas Eve. Sometimes this can be a horrible experience. The instructions can be very vague or maybe in another language. Sometimes one or more of the parts are actually missing. Often we begin to try and put the toy or piece of furniture together without reading the instruction first. When we finally look at the instructions, we realize that we missed a step and must start over again. We may be so bold as to claim that we do not need the instructions, attempting to assemble it on our own. Anyone of these experiences can leave us with a product that is either incomplete or not what it was meant to be. This same situation can occur while we are building and strengthening our Faith. This is why we need to start from the beginning. We need to start with Christ.
It is not a coincidence that the first teaching Jesus gives us after he proclaims the coming of the Kingdom through repentance is the Beatitudes. Christ tells us to repent or rethink the way we see the world to the way His Heavenly Father sees it. Our questions back to Jesus are “How do we do that?” and “What do you mean, ‘repent’?” Christ doesn’t wait for us to ask the questions; He gives us the Beatitudes.
The Beatitudes are teachings that absolutely turn the world upside down. No longer are teachings like “an eye for and eye” and “tooth for a tooth” relevant. The Kingdom that God brings us is not based on riches or accomplishments of this earthy world. It is based on our relationship with God first and how we love and treat each other. Blessed are we who search for the wisdom and virtue of God and blessed are we who care for and protect others.
Our Lord knows these instructions to follow Him into God’s Kingdom will be difficult. The world does not want to change and will push back very hard at times. This is a broken world and just like an injured animal it will lash out at us if we try and help. This world may even turn on us when we are on the path to the Kingdom. But never lose heart. If we start at the beginning and follow the instructions from Christ and build a good foundation of faith, we will accomplish our journey to the Kingdom for blessed are the persecuted – theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
May Jesus live in our hearts forever.