Among the news stories making headlines at Reuters today, the state of world affairs looks something like this:
• Fighting rages in eastern Ukraine city, dozens dead
• Bomb explodes near Shi'ite mosque in Baghdad, killing 19
• Ukraine accuses Kremlin of sending 'terrorists' over border
• Despair and dread grip Syrian refugees on election’s eve
• Dutch minister plans Saudi trip to avert trade sanctions
• China says Vietnam is taking 'dangerous actions' at sea
Each day millions of people turn on their TV’s, computers, iphones, newspapers, journals, or radios to hear about the condition of the world around them. The state of earthly affairs can bring many people to disillusionment, despair and disassociation. We elect leaders that promise they will make things better, they fail. We give to charities yet there is still hunger. We pay taxes so that others might receive aid but there are still homeless among us. We look to the world as a place that offers possibilities that the glass is either half empty or half full, and we strive each day to make sure our glass is filled.
But Jesus reminded us to love God primarily and to love one another by putting ourselves at the service of others despite the fact that “The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me” (Matthew 26:11). We should never lose sight of our love for God because of the conditions of the world in which we live. In 1 John 2:15, Jesus reminds us to keep things in their proper order: "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Focusing on the world alone can create a barrier in our relationship with God. Love others, help them, give them all you have, but do it for love of God. Our efforts to love during the time we have on this earth are blessed by God in heaven. Pope Francis reiterates this message when he says “Our efforts are also directed to ending violations of human dignity, discrimination and abuse in the world, for these are so often the cause of destitution” (catholicnewsagency.com).
When we empty ourselves of our own self-will and desires, we become “poor in spirit” and may then recognize that “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of this message of mercy and hope” (Pope Francis, catholicnewsagency.com). If we focus our attention on God through Christ’s message what would the news headlines look like in heaven?
• Today, thousands who were poor in spirit entered the kingdom of heaven.
• Many followers who mourned received comfort.
• In this week’s news the meek inherited the earth.
• Hope gripped Gods’ children because those who hungered and thirsted for righteousness were satisfied.
• The Holy Spirit reports that the merciful have obtained an abundance of mercy.
• God rejoiced today as the pure of heart were able to see him.
• In a heavenly ceremony the peacemakers were awarded the status of being called the children of God.
• Citizens of heaven today welcomed those who were persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is now the kingdom of heaven.
In 1 Corinthians 15:19, St. Paul reminds us “If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.”