January 29, 2017 – Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12 (The Beatitudes)
The following is an excerpt from a post on the Theology of Work Project website. It discusses the third beatitude, “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.”
The third beatitude puzzles many people in the workplace, in part because they don’t understand what it means to be meek. Many assume the term means weak, tame, or deficient in courage. But the biblical understanding of meekness is power under control. In the Old Testament, Moses was described as the meekest man on earth. Jesus described himself as “meek and lowly,” which was consistent with his vigorous action in cleansing the temple.
Power under God’s control means two things: (1) refusal to inflate our own self-estimation; and (2) reticence to assert ourselves for ourselves. Paul captures the first aspect perfectly in his letter to the Romans: “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
Meek people see themselves as servants of God, not thinking more highly of themselves than they ought to think. To be meek is to accept our strengths and limitations for what they truly are, instead of constantly trying to portray ourselves in the best possible light. But it does not mean that we should deny our strengths and abilities. When asked if he was the Messiah, Jesus replied, “The blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them. And blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.” He had neither an inflated self-image nor an inferiority complex, but a servant’s heart based on what Paul would later call “sober judgment.”
A servant’s heart is the crux of the second aspect of meekness: reticence to assert ourselves for ourselves. We exercise power, but for the benefit of all people, not just ourselves. The second aspect is captured in Psalm 37, which begins with, “Do not fret because of the wicked,” and ends with “the meek shall inherit the land.”
It means we curb our urge to avenge the wrongs done against us, and instead use whatever power we have to serve others.
To read the entire reflection from the Theology of Work Project website, go to: https://www.theologyofwork.org/new-testament/matthew/the-kingdom-of-heaven-at-work-in-us-matthew-5-7/the-beatitudes-matthew-51-12/blessed-are-the-meek-for-they-will-inherit-the-earth-matthew-55