12th June

Today’s gospel is arguably the most important passage in the whole of the Bible – the Beatitudes. It is followed by commentary from the Bishops’ website.

Gospel Matthew 5:1-12 Beatitudes

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 satisfied.
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; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.’
The Gospel of the Lord.
Gospel Reflection Monday, Tenth Week in Ordinary Time Matthew 5:1-12
This morning’s gospel reading is the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s gospel. It is a very striking beginning. The Beatitudes express in a very succinct form the vision of Jesus for human living, and, in particular, for living as his followers, as his disciples. The qualities Jesus refers to in those nine beatitudes find fullest expression in Jesus’ own life. He was ‘poor in spirit’ in that he recognized his dependence on God his Father for the work he was sent to do. He was ‘pure in heart’ in that his heart, his desire, was focused on doing God’s will and on the coming of God’s kingdom. He was ‘merciful’ in that he brought God’s merciful love to those who were broken in body, mind, heart or spirit. He ‘hungered and thirsted for what is right’, for what God wanted, and was prepared to be persecuted for being true to that deep hunger and thirst. When we look at the beatitudes, we are looking at Jesus, but we are also looking at the person that Jesus is calling us to become. To live the beatitudes is to become, in the words of Saint Paul, fully mature with the fullness of Christ himself. When we live the beatitudes, as Jesus did, we will be truly blessed, because we will receive in abundance from God, ‘we will be comforted, we will be satisfied, we will have mercy shown us…’ This is indeed a gospel passage that is worth pondering, allowing it to seep into us so that it really shapes us.