Kevin Casey ’13, ’15 M.Ed.

Today’s gospel never fails to take me back in time to my elementary school religion classes where I first meditated on this Scripture. The images of the people I imagined in my mind are still with me.

“You who are poor,” brought visions of individuals experiencing homelessness; “you who are weeping” called to mind people crying on the news devastated by unavoidable disasters; the people hated were marginalized groups in other parts of the world; and so on. The one person I never envisioned within any of the groups to which Jesus refers was me.

Consequently, I’ve always thought of Christ’s sermon as a message concerning others—a call to help those suffering. Of course, it is, and yet only recently did I realize it is also a personal message of hope from Jesus to me and to all of us, regardless of our circumstances.

Though perhaps not in their literal senses, we’ve all felt poor (lacking), hungry, sad, or excluded. For example, I’ve never been food-insecure, but I’ve experienced a hunger for in-person connections throughout this pandemic. And while I have not mourned recently, I have been feeling sadness for a sick relative.

In resisting the urge to other those to whom Jesus describes and instead find our place within these groups, we are reminded that God is with us in our struggles.

And it is hopeful to know that our hunger—whatever it may be—will one day be satisfied; to know that laughter will eventually replace our tears; to understand that no matter how we feel hurt by others, we will one day again “rejoice and leap for joy.”

Internalizing this personal message of hopefulness will not only bring us closer to Jesus but also empower us to be that messenger of hope to others in their trying times.