Is Jesus speaking literally of hunger and weeping?
How will someone who is hungry become satisfied? Is Jesus going to give them food? How will someone who is weeping turn to laughing? Will Jesus be telling them jokes?
It is nonsensical to think that Jesus is speaking literally here.
This type of speech is called figurative. When someone is speaking figuratively, they begin to speak of something that is analogous in principle or symbolic in imagery.
Let's use an example. Let's say that a school teacher is speaking to her class about her students achieving great learning and advancing in their academics. The teacher might say something like, "I want you to soar above the clouds as you gather knowledge."
Is the teacher literally saying the children will begin to fly? Certainly not. She is using "soaring" figuratively to indicate raising the mind to new levels of learning. The teacher is hoping the children will eventually go to college and continue their education.
In the same way, Jesus is speaking figuratively as he uses concepts of hunger and weeping. The meaning of these is understood when seen from the spiritual perspective:
A person who has forgotten their identity as spiritual, who has forgotten that the Supreme Being is their Best Friend and Soul Mate can be compared to someone who is hungry because we are empty without our relationship with the Supreme Being. We have nothing but emptiness without God.
And as we identify ourselves with the physical body, we are faced with continuous misfortune and letdowns. When we identify ourselves as something we are not (false identification), we cannot be fulfilled with the things that this identity consumes: the things of this physical world.
This is why even the most wealthy individuals - those with more riches than they could ever use in a lifetime, and the power to do most anything in the physical world - are still unhappy. Despite all of this wealth and power, they are still anxious.
Why are they anxious?
The three anxieties of materialism
They are anxious because they don't want to lose their wealth. Or they are anxious about getting something they don't yet have.
There are three central anxieties of the physical world:
1) We are anxious about obtaining something we don't yet have.
2) We are anxious about the possibility of losing what we already have.
3) We are anxious about having lost something we previously had.
Every physical thing has the potential of causing all three of these anxieties. And most of the residents of the physical world are constantly in all three anxieties about different things.
For example, we might be in anxiety about finding and affording a new car, at the same time we might be fearing that someone will steal our wallet as we ride the subway home, at the same time we might be regretting having lost money in the stock market. At different times or concurrently, all three anxieties plague those who seek happiness within the physical world.
And each thing can rotate us from one type of anxiety to another. Round and round we go on this cycle of anxiety, as we look for things of the physical world to satisfy us, fear we might lose those things, and regret having lost them. This can occur in relationships with other people, material things, money, or name and fame.
And because we are spiritual in essence, none of these physical things can satisfy us.
Jesus' teachings are fulfilling
Yet Jesus is stating that his spiritual teachings will satisfy us. He is stating that his teachings will give a person who has the sorrow and emptiness of this world a renewed life of fulfillment and happiness.
And what, specifically, did Jesus teach that will bring fulfillment and happiness? A loving relationship with the Supreme Being:
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)