We are in the waning days of the Easter season. Jesus in the gospel record is preparing the community that his direct presence with them will be less. The community was coming to terms with the fact that the Jesus they had known was dead but that his presence still was with them. The memory of Jesus in John's Gospel, which was written late ( about 110 AD) was that while Jesus would not be present any more; God's presence would be there with them continuously. This presents is known as "the Comforter". As time passed, the church experienced this comforter as what today we call "the Holy Spirit". We celebrate the feast of the Holy Spirit in two weeks at Pentecost.
The early church community and our community of people today strive to follow the pathway with God has outlined and taught by Jesus. Sadly there is often confusion in our understanding of the path and it gets clouded by references to the previous Jewish testament which we call the Old Testament. Early Christians understood that "the way" followed a new covenant with God as delineated by Jesus. He gave the community which he built a new set of Commandments to replace the set of Commandments which today we call "the 10 Commandments." Jesus summarized the 10 Commandments by saying "you shall love the Lord your God with all your mind with all your heart and with all your strength and you shall love your neighbor as you love yourself". The new Commandments of Jesus on what we call "the Beatitudes." [Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter 5] these commandments are radically different than the 10 Commandments which enforce a Jewish understanding of community life ffor a nomadic people. Jesus Commandments are for a more cosmopolitan settler community and reflect a dynamic understanding of God which is "emergent." This means that Christians are to engage in the issues of our time.
Today in this time of Coved-19, we are to engage each other in a sensitive, dynamic , serving and caring way. We are challenged to apply the Beatitudes in our own daily actions. We are called to be working at reconciliation, caring, nonviolent, and restorative. The eight propositions of the Beatitudes form the foundation for progressive modern Christian community. It is our challenge to know them and to apply them in our daily lives for ourselves and with everyone we meet. May God bless us on this journey. Amen