The Beatitudes

Many will be familiar with today’s Gospel from Matthew (5:1-12): the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount is one of best-known teachings of Jesus.

The first word of the first discourse from the Sermon on the Mount (which we hear over the next three weeks) is ‘blessed’ or ‘happy’.  The people pronounced as happy may surprise us.  They include:  the poor in spirit, the gentle, the mourners and those who hunger and thirst for what is right.

At first, we are told this sermon had Jesus’ disciples as the audience but at the conclusion, we learn that the crowds around Jesus heard it too. If we look back at what precedes Matthew’s narrative we see that these crowds were throngs of needy and suffering people.  Those who heard these words for the first time would apply them to themselves.  Like them, we long to share the happiness and blessedness of Jesus.

Anne’s reflection focuses on three words from the reading – mourning, mercy and peacemakers.

Mourning is a blessing because to mourn our sinful nature produces in us an intention to renew ourselves and to follow the way of God in righteousness.

Mercy is the benevolent nature towards those who suffer. Love, empathy and mercy towards a family member or neighbor will bring peace in our relationships.

Peacemakers not only manifest peaceful lives but work to share peace and friendship with others and cultivate peace between God and man.

Anne encourages us to reflect on how these words can give meaning to our lives:

Father, we pray that we like the crowds who overheard Jesus addressing his disciples on the mountain, may be truly moved by the teaching he offered them and so share in the blessedness that your Son promises in his Beatitudes. We make this prayer through Christ our Lord, Amen