February 17

Reflection

The Beatitudes form the basis of all of Jesus’ teaching to the disciples. The Hebrew word “blessing” denotes an inner state, not an outward appearance.  Being blessed means needing less, begin satisfied with the goodness of each day, and being filled with justice and compassion. “Jesus’ mission of renewal called for an inner spirituality of surrender, prayer, mercy and compassion. Jesus was not a literalist nor was he superficial. His gospel “be-attitude” of poverty is a way of being inwardly free, liberated from the enslavement of possessions, and therefore alive to the goodness of all things throughout all reality. Blessed are those who have inner space to see and receive the truth of reality. They participate creatively in the unfolding reign of God. His ‘good news’ was a reality check, a wake-up call to the fact that humans can be unnaturally violent to one another, divisive, arrogant, and brutal. Jesus called his disciples to a new future, to form a new transformed earth a “kin-dom” of equality and inclusivity.  This new community required a new level of consciousness and participation” (Ilia Delio adapted from Making All Things New).

Prayer

Thy kindom come.

Action

Study the Beatitudes.  Compare them to the social norms that are presently operative.  To what are we being called?

Suggested Reading

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.
Matthew 5:1-12

What must one do to be a good Christian?’ the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives.
Pope Francis

Peacemaking is the result of not only taking the beatitudes seriously, but living them. It involves right relationships. Right relationships with God, right relationships with God’s people and right relationships with God’s creation. It involves love.
Donald R. Clymer

The Sermon on the Mount seems dangerous. It challenges the whole underlying conception on which modern society is built. It would replace it by a new conception, animate it with a new motive, and turn it toward a new goal.
Stanley Jones

The influence of the Sermon on the Mount is truly past reckoning. Any rational human being with a conscientious mind is bound to be influenced by its exuberant content regardless of religious background.
Abhijit Naskar

I do not believe there is a problem in this country or the world today which could not be settled if approached through the teaching of the Sermon on the Mount.
Harry S Truman

 Most people are willing to take the Sermon on the Mount as a flag to sail under, but few will use it as a rudder by which to steer.
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

When Jesus says ‘Blessed are the merciful, peacemakers’, and so on, he doesn’t just mean that they themselves are blessed. He means that the blessing of God’s kingdom works precisely through those people into the wider world. That is how God’s kingdom comes. That’s one thing to hear afresh.
N. T. Wright

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