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God Calls us to His Own Beatitude

God Calls us to His Own Beatitude

The Sunday Gospels between now and Lent are all taken from the Sermon on the Mount.  Much of this body of teaching begins, ‘You have heard it said… but I say unto you…’  Jesus takes the law as it stands and urges us to be faithful not only to the letter but to the spirit of the law also.  For example, ‘You have leant how it was said, ‘eye for an eye and tooth for tooth’ but I say this to you: … if anyone hits you on the right check, offer him the other as well…’  This Sermon on the Mount takes up two whole chapters of Matthew therefore it must be important, yes?

Why was it so important to Jesus that he teach all this?  Because the people of his time had grown lukewarm in faith or bogged down in the detail of the law, ignoring the spirit?  Yes, partly, but if we read the Sermon on the Mount without its proper beginning, we risk falling into exactly the same trap.

Omitted this year because of the Feast of the Presentation, the Gospel of the Beatitudes precedes the rest of the teaching in Matthew 5-7 and sets the tone in which we must understand what we are subsequently taught.

We read in the Catechism, ‘the Beatitudes depict the countenance of Jesus Christ and portray his charity (CCC1717): the very face of Christ is revealed in this proclamation… and what is it that he proclaims?  That we will be happy (and more than happy: blessed, but that’s another story)! The Beatitudes respond to the natural desire for happiness.  This desire is of divine origin: God has placed it in the human heart in order to draw man to the One who alone can fulfil it’ (CCC1718).

We will be happy if we live in God: it’s that simple.  As Fulton J Sheen wrote, ‘You want to be happy?  Get a new center!  Will what God wills, and your joy no man shall take from you’.

Each Sunday, as we hear a section of teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, take time to reflect on it in the light of the Beatitudes, so that we might see how God, who calls us to his own beatitude, is calling each of us, each day, ever closer to him.

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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