MANILA, Sept. 11, 2013—A Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) official encouraged the faithful to see the Sermon on the Mount, one of the most enigmatic and most misunderstood words from Jesus, as an acknowledgement that hope in God is true wealth.
“Blessed are those who hope in no one else but God,” CBCP secretary general Msgr. Joselito Asis said, also explaining how the Filipino translation of ‘Blessed are you who are poor’ took the words a step further by defining true poverty as having no one else but God.
During the celebration of the holy Eucharist for CBCP employees this morning, he explained the Gospel of the day, which dwells on contrasts between laughing and weeping; being rich and being poor; and being honored and being despised, challenges believers to trace the true source of their wealth.
“I invite us today to look beyond the obvious and see the distinction between the two…A good reflection for us today would reveal our values,” Msgr. Asis said, explaining how a person may be materially rich, but spiritually poor if he lives simply.
“This is the meaning of the Gospel today, it is our attitude…What is important is we are led to a trust in God,” he said.
Asis, who ends his term as secretary general this December, also cautioned against taking the verses literally – that poor people are always good, while rich people are evil.
Ultimately, he explained, it means a person is blessed if he experiences hunger, suffering or rejection, yet finds peace in God’s presence.
“When you no longer seek anything else but Jesus, we are always at peace… The meaning of peace is simply experiencing the presence of God,” Asis said in closing.
He noted how the Pax (‘peace’) sign of a letter ‘P’ with a superimposed ‘X’, which was often used by the early Christians, also symbolized Jesus himself. [Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz]