The Beatitudes call us to see all we have and are as nothing but as gifts from God, so that we can use them to glorify Him. They call after us to weep for the world which can't, or won't, look to Him for relief. They prompt after us to hunger after justice and to be the servant of all mankind in His name. Now, what do you think this means for those who try and live by these? Will the world, which measures success by how much you have, celebrate these liberating revelations? Will it work to join in trying to end true injustice and thankfully adopt a way of life whose main concept is 'You first'? No. In fact, you can be sure that, to live as a follower of Christ, to try and live by His commands and His way, you will be viewed, if not mad, as dangerous.
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets...Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets" (Luke 6: 22-23;26).
Now, to be fair, this is probably the most used, and most abused, part of the Beatitudes. Many claim that someone's hatred toward them is 'proof' that they're of God. (Even when there is no real hatred involved) Consider the claim by Jehovah's Witness' that Hitler's hatred of them was proof that they were of God! They weren't persecuted by Hitler on account of the Son of Man, on account of being followers of Christ. They were hated, or persecuted, because they refused to do anything for anyone. Gays, women, many groups use this but the reasons for their 'persecutions' are not on account of the 'Son of Man', but because of their lifestyles, agenda, etc. But let someone talk to them out of their concern, their love of God, and watch the hatred fly.
Consider this site's recent running of "Herod's Heroes." Look at the list of prominent, well-thought of politicians. If you were to speak to their constituents, they'd speak well of them. "They're advancing the cause of women!" "They're concerned with the good of the common person." "They're fighting for the rights of all people", etc. Consider some of our own Church leaders. They're spoken of in the same way. But let anyone speak of right over rights, let them speak of moral thinking, and the rhetoric comes out.
"Homophobe!" "Sexist" "Un-American" etc.
"Jesus said to them, 'My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil'" (John 7:6-7).
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, 'A servant is not greater than his master.' If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all this they will do to you on My account, because they do not know Him Who sent Me" (John 15:18-21).
"Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in Heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets"
"May 8; New York, NY - One hour before the funeral Mass for Cardinal John O'Connor, CNN interviewed Ann Northrop of the gay group ACT-UP and Kelli Conlin, a pro-abortion activist. Northrop stated, "He [O'Connor] was a bigot and he was very aggressive about promoting his bigotry." Conlin stated that Cardinal O'Connor was unwilling to 'open his mind and hearts' to alleged Catholics who were pro-abortion. The credibility of neither women was challenged by the reporter. Northrop was one of the ACT-UP members who broke into St. Patrick's Cathedral in 1989 to disrupt Mass and desecrate the Eucharist. Conlin is a radical pro-abortionist with a long record of anti-Church statements" (Catholic League; 2000 Annual Report).
"April; Naples, FL - An art exhibit called 'Confrontational Clay' was displayed at the Philharmonic Center for the Arts. The exhibit, by curator Judith Schwartz, is heavily supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. It included a piece that featured a toilet, topped by a statue of the Sacred Heart 'wearing a Mickey Mouse hat. When a museum visitor complained, the CEO of the center apologized and said "it would not happen again The 'Confrontational Clay' exhibit moved on to the Decorative Arts Museum at the Arkansas Arts Center. The exhibit still included the piece with the toilet, topped by a statue of the Sacred Heart wearing the Mickey Mouse hat" (Ibid).
"October; In its Inside Borders catalogue for October, Borders - the nation's largest book chain - had an ad for John Cornwell's Hitler's Pope. The ad described Pope Pius XII as 'arguably the most dangerous churchman in modern history' " (Ibid).
"April 12; Poughkeepsie, NY - Vassar College hosted a forum on 'Literature, Homosexuality, and Catholicism in the Nineteenth Century,' featuring Richard Dellamora from Trent University in Canada and Ellis Hanson from Cornell. The forum was sponsored by the English Department, the Office of the President and the Queer Coalition. During the talks, Hanson equated Christianity with sadomasochism. Hanson charged the Church with being both homophobic and homoerotic. Dellamora said that the Crucifixion is a symbol of sexual dissidence. In advance of the talks, the Catholic League had contacted the Vassar president's office to get more information on what would be discussed. The president's office admitted it didn't know but said that it didn't matter what the subject was because President Frances Daly Ferguson supports 'free speech and the gay students' " (Ibid).
There are so many other examples. Is there tolerance and understanding when politicians seek to force Catholics to do something they can't?
Washington, DC - The legislative body of the District of Columbia, the D.C. Council passed a bill mandating health insurance coverage of contraceptives without a provision exempting Catholic hospitals and employers on religious grounds. During debate on the bill, which passed 13-0, council member Jim Graham called the Catholic Church homophobic and urged his colleagues against 'deferring to Rome'."
"July 26; Washington, DC - Congressman James P. Moran (D-VA) lashed out at the Catholic Church for its position on homosexuality. Moran was angry that House Republicans placed an attachment to the D. C. Council budget bill that would nullify the controversial contraceptive health care bill.
In offering support for councilman Jim Graham's objections to the Republican initiative, Moran spoke of his 'disappointment, and the intolerance, and yes, the hypocrisy of the Catholic church as an institution towards homosexuality…'
"An aide to Rep. Moran subsequently deleted the anti-Catholic statement in the Congressional Record. Moran was told to restore the original language and was informed by Rep. Bill Thomas, chairman of the Committee on House Administration, that he had violated ethics rules, which prohibit such alterations" (Ibid).
Our Lord ate and drank with sinners, but He never condoned what they did. Rather, He called them, out of love, to repentance and conversion. No doubt those who refused to hated Him for it.
"For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, and not be like Cain who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother's righteous. Do not wonder, brethren, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:11-16).