Refection on Matthew 5:1-12 (All Saint’s Sunday)

The Gospel according to Matthew

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

“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 receive 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 for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Let us Pray: Everlasting God, we pray that your Church, built on the foundation of the saints, will be faithful to the teaching of Christ so that it reflects his likeness.  Lord and Father, as you kindled the flame of your love in the hearts of the saints, give to us the same faith and power of love; that, we may benefit from their unselfish examples. In the name of our lord and savior we pray. AMEN

The beatitudes introduce the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew places the Sermon at the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, emphasizing that Jesus is the authoritative teacher of God’s people. Jesus explained the core of faith and its practice lead to true and eternal happiness and it begins with that realization and life itself teaches us this when we open our hearts to the Lord. Embracing the Beatitudes defines the path of our journey. In the context of Jesus’s desire for us, they are the attributes of Christ that we must assume in order to be whole.

It might be enlightening if we could each of us look within ourselves and pick one beatitude that showed us who we believed ourselves to be. If we look carefully at Jesus’ words, however, we find that they are much more than moral generalities or mottos to live by. They are key principles of embracing this life. The beatitudes are first of all declarations of God’s grace. They are not conditions of salvation or roadmaps to earn entry to God’s kingdom.

Jesus can speak such words because he is revealing a kingdom perspective.  The first and the last of the nine beatitudes extend his proclamation of the good news by applying the presence of the kingdom of heaven to the poor and persecuted. These beatitudes act like bookends for the rest of them, indicating that the kingdom of heaven is the controlling concept of the section. It is so because those who possess the kingdom are “blessed.”  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.  “Blessed are those who are persecuted, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus insists that God has the final word, bringing assurance into the present. God has the final word in all we do and how we can all work together. In this present time we need to work together to protect each other and remember those who have been lost with this: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. We mourn not just for those we have lost but also because we have failed to protect each other.

In the word of God, we find healing and freedom, and in Jesus’ name we can announce, “the kingdom of heaven has drawn near.”

Let us Pray: Faithful God, we thank you for the example of all the saints and as we go out into the world help us to follow in their footsteps with courage and hope determined, like them, to do your work and live the Gospel of your Son. In the Name of the Father and of the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen

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