Reflection-Week 11

Spirit of the Beatitudes in the life of the Jesus Youth movement
 
‘The Beatitudes’ give us the essence of Jesus’ life-giving teachings. It is the pen-picture of Jesus himself. It is the character sketch of a disciple and the Christian character at its best. In short it describes what Jesus Youth, as an individual and as a movement, should be and should do: be Jesus, live Jesus, proclaim Jesus and establish the Kingdom of God here on earth. 
“The Church all over the world wishes to be the Church of the poor… she wishes to draw out all the truth contained in the Beatitudes of Christ, and especially in the first one: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’… She wishes to teach this truth and she wishes to put it into practice just as Jesus came to do and to teach.”
 
Jesus proclaimed the Kingdom of God (Mk 1:15). He described the qualities of it through the many parables, stories and examples. He lived it in His personal life, in His family and in the community of disciples. And He accomplished His part by dying on the cross (Jn 19:30).
 
The powerful coming of the Kingdom was inaugurated on the day of Pentecost and developed in and through the apostles, disciples and the early Christian community. And it continues even today through the Church. The Kingdom Jesus wants to bring to individuals, communities and the world is beautifully illustrated through His life, teachings, the prayer He taught and the seven last verses on the cross.
 
Jesus Youth, as members and collectively, has to be poor in spirit, mourning, meek, seeking God’s will always, merciful, pure and peacemakers. And also ready to be persecuted for their uncompromising stand for the Lord and the Kingdom.
 
A brief description of the Beatitudes: 

  1. Poor in spirit

The deep knowledge that everything – what one is, one has, one can and one knows – is God’s free gift (cf 1 Cor 4:7) and that the whole humanity is God’s family and that we are just pilgrims on earth (cf Gen 47:8-9), enables one to have great inner freedom and detachment. It empowers one to be able to use, lose and share everything without losing peace of mind. Jesus had the freedom to be born in a manger, run away to a foreign land, do everything in perfect obedience, live without a place to lay his head, die on a cross and be buried in a borrowed grave! Blessed are those who have the spirit of poverty - no attachment, no aversion to anything - for theirs is the Kingdom of God. 

  1. Mourn

Comfort is the result of mourning. Only those who weep deeply can laugh heartily. Weeping over one’s own sinfulness and the pain of others’ sufferings makes one constantly repentant and socially committed. A saint is a repentant sinner. Let us remember Pope John Paul II’s exhortation to the youth ‘not to be afraid of being the saints of the millennium’. Repentance leads one to frequently access the sacrament of confession. And concern for the poor and needy is one of the strong pillars of the Jesus Youth movement. 

  1. Meek

The knowledge that God is our Father and we are His children, ‘he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world’ (1 Jn 4:4) and that all the evil that can come to us is far less than what we really deserve (the wages of sin is death) makes a disciple of Christ unaggressive under provocations. A meek person who has perfect control and mastery over one’s emotions will surely win over the whole world. 

  1. Hunger and thirst for righteousness

Satisfaction is the result of fulfilling God’s will (cf Jer 29:11, Eph 2:10). Whole-heartedly seeking God’s will in all circumstances (WWJD) has to be the characteristic of every Jesus Youth and the movement (cf Mt 6:33). Personal prayer, Word of God and spiritual guidance help in this. 

  1. Merciful

‘The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end…’ (Lam 3:22). Mercy, compassion and unconditional love of the Father are the qualities for His children to emulate (cf Luke 6:36, Eph 4: 31-32). 

  1. Purity of heart

Clarity of vision spells purity of heart. Like an athlete running the race and a soldier in the master’s service, a disciple of Christ presses on towards the goal with single minded attention, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfection of our faith (Heb 12:2, Ps 119:9, 2 Tim 3:16). 

  1. Peacemakers

Those who experience the peace of Christ will in turn be committed to the mission of the Son of God in bringing about the reign of God here on earth. “Today more than in the past, missionaries are being recognised as promoters of development by governments and international experts who are impressed at the remarkable results achieved with scanty means.”(RM 58) 

  1. Persecuted

The values of the Kingdom are just the opposite of the values of the world. A disciple of Christ will surely be a challenge and threat to those of the world and will shine out (be radiant) by contrast. Evil cannot stand goodness. Neither can ugliness tolerate beauty. A disciple of Christ will be hated, rejected and persecuted and the disciple knows that that is the time to rejoice.
 
Jesus Youth, a missionary movement at the service of the Church, refined, renewed and radiant, is committed to establishing the Kingdom of God here on earth through re-evangelization and new evangelization, in order to reap a rich harvest of faith from all over the world.
 
“The missionary is a person of the Beatitudes…” (RM 91)
 
C.C. Alicekutty
Kochi, India   

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