Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Today's New Testament reading, The Beatitudes, is a familiar one. In it, Jesus teaches the disciples:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied."
"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy."
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God."
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (Matthew 5:3-12)
Notice the verbs.
The Kingdom of God currently belongs to those who are poor in spirit (verse 1)--those who are sinful. "Theirs is the kingdom of God."
But possessing the kingdom of God, that is, being a coheir with Christ of all the Father's gifts, remains hidden. Which is to say, "Your Best Life Now," isn't all you're hoping for.
Notice the other present realities of those who already possess the kingdom: they will mourn, are meek, will hunger and thirst for righteousness, are merciful, are pure in heart, are peacemakers, are persecuted for righteousness, and are reviled on account of Christ.
Just as Jesus suffered through this life, ultimately giving himself to redeem a lost and condemned humanity, we too must suffer through this life. It's the cross that God lays upon us.
This doesn't exactly sound like Nirvana, or an Utopian existence, or even heaven on earth. It sounds more like a veil of tears or sorrows. But, like I said, "Your Best Life Now," isn't all you're hoping for.
There are future tense verbs after all, and they tell of a greater existence yet to come.
Those who possess the kingdom of God will be comforted, inherit the earth, be satisfied, receive mercy, see God, be called sons (and daughters) of God, and will receive their reward in heaven.
So what about the family.
Be the best spouse you can be. Love and pray for your children. And confess that you are poor in spirit, longing for the future reality that Jesus describes.
The kingdom of God is yours, and one day, you and your family will experience it in its fullness.
With great anticipation. Amen.