“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” (Mt. 5:6)
What are you hungry for? There are many kinds of hunger. The most obvious is the hunger for food. Even with our nation’s surplus, many still go hungry for lack of food. But there is another kind of hunger, an urge for something more. Some look to success in the workplace; if we can just get one step higher on the ladder of success, we think that will satisfy us. For some it is the family; if we can just get our family perfect, the yearning will cease. Yet when we hear the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes, do we ever put ourselves in the place of one of those who hungers?
What does it mean to be hungry? In regards to food, even if we have plenty to eat, we can still get hungry. We need to keep eating at intervals during the day to keep our bodies going and be strong enough to complete our daily tasks. So what does it mean to be hungry for righteousness? Righteousness is defined as following a moral good or divine law. So how can we be hungry for following God’s law? Have you ever felt the urge to live the 10 Commandments?
Just like the daily desire for food to nourish our bodies, we have a daily desire to come closer to God and to do His will. It is that need that drives us to seek Him out: in prayer, at Mass, in receiving Holy Communion and in bringing Him to others. Jesus promises us we will be satisfied. But as the need for food is with us daily, so too is the need for Him. And at the end of every good meal, we feel a sense of fullness, so too when we do the will of God we may also have some sense of satisfaction. Yet each day will be a new opportunity to hunger and thirst until we are at last in the Kingdom of God.
Keeping the comparison of hungering for food to that of striving to do God’s will, we can take comfort in the daily satisfaction it brings us. Our daily struggle to respond to this hunger helps keep despair away as we face what often seems like a Godless world.