The Beatitudes are Jesus’ charter for the Christian Life. The Beatitudes do not replace the Ten Commandments, but they are revealed to propel us into a life of true blessedness. The rich man leaves Jesus in sadness when he finds himself unable to let go of his wealth, even though he kept all the commandments. He sought perfection, “what must I do to be perfect,” but had an ill-conceived notion of what perfection is. He thought higher perfection would win him more esteem in the eyes of men, he thought perhaps that he was already pretty close to perfection because he avoided grave sin. When Jesus invites him to “go and sell all that you have, give to the poor and then come and follow me and you will have treasure in heaven” He reveals that becoming perfect means becoming truly happy, truly blessed, truly free. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Priests are fond of reminding everyone on this particular Sunday, if they choose to actually preach about the Trinity, how hard it is to avoid heresy. The secret is to keep it short. I’m sure that appeals to most of the people in the pews, but we could end up living our Christian lives as though the Trinity was some sort of enormously complicated and “risky” mystery that we had better not try to understand. Now while it is true that we will never understand the Trinity (even in heaven!), we shouldn’t let that stop us from having our hearts and minds expanded if not blown away while we are still here below. Jesus’ whole mission coming in the flesh was to make the whole mystery of God – the Trinity – accessible to us. When Philip complained about just wanting to be shown the Father, Jesus didn’t respond, “Sorry Philip, I know it’s hard to understand, there are a lot of Theological complexities involved, and you’ll never understand anyway so just believe it and don’t worry that it doesn’t mean anything to you.” Jesus actually said, “Do you still not know me Philip? Whoever sees me has seen the Father.” Fortunately, the key to a meaningful encounter with the Trinity has nothing to do with understanding it rationally.