Date: 29th January 2023
The Beatitudes, at the start of the Sermon on the Mount, is the real beginning of Jesus’ public ministry in Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew is most concerned to relate the Christian community to their Jewish heritage. Central to that heritage is Israel’s possession of the Law or the Torah of Moses, and the ten Commandments are central to the Law of Moses. . For Matthew, Jesus does not do away with the Ten Commandments, but brings them to fulfilment.
With an authority far in excess of that of Moses, he does this by giving it an authoritative interpretation.
If we look back to the verses just before today’s Gospel, we shall see that Jesus addresses his disciples in the presence of the sick, those who were afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics and paralytics, ... great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and from beyond the Jordan...” “Seeing the crowds” Jesus went up the hill, sits down and his disciples come to him – as to a teacher – for instruction He is going to tell them what they must be and how they should live, not just for themselves, but also for their future ministry...
They are invitations to adopt certain attitudes and live out certain values that come from God. And the first impression can be that they place you at a disadvantage here and now in the world in which we live. Poor in spirit, gentle, mourn, merciful, peacemaker... Hey,,, people will walk all over you...
Happy are they... Blessed - Greek word is MAKARIOS - congratulations – you have won a million dollars in Tattslotto
Happy are you - you are on the right path, the right way of living...
The attitudes and values that Jesus here comments are not a recipe for getting on in the world.
They centre around the core idea of living in a non-competitive, non-grasping way.
To be poor in spirit – to be able to say: I don’t know, please help me...; to be gentle and unselfish, rather than on the make and walk all over people to get there...
To be ready to weep alongside the unfortunate rather than avoid them; to work for justice and peace; To ask the question: What can I do to make peace? It is easy to say what someone else should be doing... to exercise mercy and be single-minded in pursuit of the good and to be ready to endure persecution, ridicule for the sake of the Gospel... yes all these things can and will make us vulnerable here and now.
But God is on our side... we shall be satisfied, find God’s mercy and be comforted
To live in this way, according to these values, makes supreme sense if God is as Jesus reveals God to be.
These beatitudes are wonderful and help me to believe in God as supreme Wisdom
Photo Credit: Tara Bau