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Wednesday, 25 January 2023 15:17

Catching the vision

 Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
   theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
   they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
   they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
   they shall be satisfi ed.
Happy the merciful:
   they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
   they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
   they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
   theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’ (Matthew 5:1-12)

Reflection - Catching the vision

Last Sunday’s Gospel introduced the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee, his call to repentance, the choice of some disciples and the spread of his fame.

Now, over the next four Sundays, the church will take us on a journey through Jesus’ teaching in Chapters 5-7 of Matthew’s Gospel. These chapters form the Sermon on the Mount. Each Sunday’s Gospel builds on the one before – they are part of this first discourse in Matthew’s Gospel and need to be understood in a connected sense, not as a series of isolated sayings.

The text we know as the ‘Beatitudes’ introduces Jesus’ teaching about the kingdom, discipleship, the true meaning of the Law and true righteousness (virtue), interior disposition of the heart against external fulfi lment of Law, trust in God and keeping the Kingdom as the focus of the disciple’s life.

Matthew’s beatitudes have been understood as a pattern of life for the follower of Jesus. Put in the context of Jesus’ call to conversion (the idea of radical change and transformation), those willing to be transformed will enjoy the blessings of the kingdom as their reward.

To be ‘poor in spirit’, to experience sadness (‘mourn’) because of the present state of affairs, to be gentle and unselfish rather than on the make, to have a passionate commitment to justice, to exercise mercy instead of taking advantage, to be ‘pure in heart’, to be ‘peacemakers’, to endure persecution and calumny for the sake of the right way of life (‘righteousness’) and allegiance to Christ: all these things make one vulnerable here and now, entailing much loss. The vulnerable make the world safe for humanity.*

For those who live according to the heart of God as Jesus reveals it, the blessings of the Kingdom will be theirs, their place in the household of God will be assured and they will be making the world a safe place for their brothers and sisters.

You can download and print our prayers and readings for this Sunday:

default Celebrating At Home 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time [PDF] (5.50 MB)                                    
default Celebrating At Home 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time [ePub] (4.36 MB)

*see Byrne, Brendan, Lifting the Burden: reading Matthew’s Gospel in the Church Today. St Pauls, 2004, pp55-57