July 3rd, 2010

"Sermon" Meditation, II Beatitudes

How fortunate are the poor, they have God's kingdom.
How fortunate the hungry, they will be fed.
How fortunate are those who are crying, they will laugh..

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In my experience, the poor often remain poor and become more miserable.
The hungry remain hungry, sometimes to the point of starvation;
and the criers keep crying until they have no more tears to cry with.

We pray for God's kingdom to come on earth.
How is it to come?  With armies of angels?
I don't think that was what Jesus had in mind.

Peter Maurin got it right.
Everybody will be rich when everybody tries to be the poorest..
(and perhaps--everybody will be fed when everybody accepts their own hunger,
everybody will laugh when everybody mourns the same losses and realize that they are mourning the same losses.)

There is a legend that ten thousand monks, living in voluntary poverty; wiped out involuntary poverty in western Egypt in the fourth century.

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett want to save the world by having everybody become multi billionaires and then give half or ninety percent or all of it away.  The trick here is to become a billionaire in the first place.  If you are lucky enough to have a talent like Bill Gates' or a wife like Warren Buffett's this might work.  But, usually, "where your treasure is, their will your heart be also."  When Jesus asked the rich young ruler to sell all he had and give it to the poor and come follow him, he wanted him to do it THEN (when then was now).  He went away sorrowing, but he went away.  We are not told if he came back.

One problem is, we do not know for sure what Jesus did, and what was made up by second or third or fourth generation Christians.  I have to go with my gut.  Jesus wanted everyone to live a simpler life.  He said he was God's son because he knew that everybody is God's son or God's daughter.  He preached a radical freedom that was not unlike a Buddhist or Taoist notion of radical freedom.  Its no wonder his followers had trouble keeping their cool.

"Freedom from want" can have multiple meanings.  Guide me in choosing the correct ones.or the correct balance among them.