Today, as we celebrate Australia Day, Fr Paul Gooley reads from the Gospel of Matthew (5: 1-12) in which, Jesus teaches his disciples ‘The Beatitudes’. Fr Paul says these eight blessings are at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, pointing out eight ways in which we can welcome God into our lives. They are ways of living out God’s blessing. The first and the last knit them all together with ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. Luke also begins his Sermon on the Plain with four such blessings – only his blessings are more on those who are materially poor and in need, whereas Matthew’s concentrate on the spiritual attitudes required of the Christian, ‘poor in spirit’, ‘hunger and thirst for justice’. Jesus came to proclaim the kingship of his Father, and these are ways of living it. Most of the themes of these blessings are gospel events in which Jesus sums them up, like the entry into Jerusalem on a donkey as the gentle king, or the love he shows in his welcome to sinners, or his bringing peace to those tortured by disease or contempt, or his purity of heart in his single-minded pre-occupation with his Father’s will, and finally his acceptance of persecution for what he knew to be right. Fr Paul notes today’s Gospel Lesson – no matter what we might think today is or is not. No matter if it’s good or bad, happy or sad there are blessings from God for all of us.