1/29/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reading: Matthew 5:1-12A
1 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 He began to teach them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
12A Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”
1/29/2023 (Sunday) Today’s gospel reflection: Matthew 5:1-12A
The Sermon on the Mount starts with the teachings of Jesus on the eight Beatitudes, a list of inner attitudes that differentiate a true disciple from a non-disciple. In truth, no one is righteous to deserve being called blessed. That the state of being blessed flows only from the grace of God and therefore, the right to inherit the Kingdom of God also comes only from Him and not from our own effort. Yet, as a disciple, we must be open to the ever-flowing grace of the Lord. This means we must endeavor with the help of the Holy Spirit to live or practice these beatitudes.
All the eight beatitudes starts with a declaration of blessedness. To be blessed means to be holy, to be held in reverence and to have found favor with God. When Jesus says, “Blessed are you…”, it means we are already blessed when we are poor in spirit, when we are mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, clean of heart, when we work for peace and when we are persecuted because of Him. It means we are made holy by these attitudes and that the blessings are here and we can already experience them although the rewards may come later. Thus, Jesus is telling us never to lose sight of the greatest blessing, eternal life although we are enjoying His blessings today.
This is not to say that being poor or mournful is good or to go hungry is okay. Let us take note that the gospel is called good news. Thus the gospel passage is good news to those who are poor or mournful or hungry. It means that having God in our life is more than enough and anyone who trust in Him will be happy and satisfied. Jesus is therefore telling us that if you want to be happy now and forever, follow the beatitudes.
Indeed the beatitudes are very challenging. Who would like to be persecuted or hungry? What the world does not recognize or look up to, Jesus made them important. He gave the beatitudes as our roadmap to His Kingdom. He is calling us to totally depend on our Father in heaven, to endure persecution on account of Him and to hunger for righteousness. Thus the beatitudes become our sure path to holiness or blessedness. Jesus is challenging us today to follow this path.