A few days ago, while more than a few hundred students from Jesuit schools in Italy were present to hear a talk from Pope Francis, there was a sudden and quite surprisign turn of events. The Holy Father started to read from a prepared text. After a word or two of greeting, the Bishop of Rome decided to give a three minute presentation of the five typed pages in his hands. Then, to the surprise of all the guests, Pope Francis asked the students if they would prefer that he drop the text and answer a few questions from the students. What? No prepared text? No pre-sselected students or questions? Well, that was the way it went. And, to be sure, it was a success.
As I read the gospel selected for today's liturgies, I could not but think of one of the words that the Holy Father used in the brief summary of the typed pages. That word was magnanimity. Yes, magnanimity.
There could not be a better word to used to speak about the content of the gospel, The Beatitudes.
Embeded in each of the Beatitudes is the very essence of magnaminity. It is the calling that we have as followers of Jesus Christ. It is the essence of what it mean to have become a martyr for Jesus Christ.
I suggest this today: read each of the Beatitudes found in the gospel reading highlighted above. Consider, if you will, what is magnanimous about each fo those descriptions of the life of a true believer, a loyal follower.
Then, like Pope Francis and his session with the students, face this particular question: what is it that I can understand as magnanimous about the each of the Beatitudes? That is the first question. The second is this: Am I magnanimous in any, or some or all of the Beatitudes that Jesus puts before us as the characteristics of a child of God? Good luck!