Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks. (cf. Lk 6:45)
It's said the goods of the world can be summed up in these four things: Wealth, Power, Pleasure, and Honor. All that the world offers us, if you will, falls neatly into one or all of these categories. Yet, as we encounter in St. Matthew's Gospel (Mt 5:1-12), Jesus turns what we're offered on its head. In his teaching - which we call his Sermon on the Mount - he provides an interpretive key to understanding our natural human inclinations to want to fill up our lives with such things. It's inadequate, however, to read this story and to then point to Christianity as a fussy prohibition of worldly desires; or to say Christianity is yet another inordinate attempt to restrict our freedoms. Properly understood - viewed in the light of faith and reason - Christianity is a person in the name of Jesus, who is the fulfillment of all desire. In the story of the Sermon on the Mount, read in today's Catholic Liturgy of the Mass, we encounter Jesus who gives us a key to understanding discipleship - a key to well-ordered fulfillment; a key to a life of joyful discipline and peace. For two brief and interesting reflections on today's Gospel reading on the Sermon of the Mount and the Beatitudes, please read below. Peace be with you! From the Author, My Daily Bread: A Reason2bCatholic blog
LISTEN: Blessed are the poor in spirit
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 5:1-12
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,/ for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven./ Blessed are they who mourn,/ for they will be comforted./ Blessed are the meek,/ for they will inherit the land./ Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,/ for they will be satisfied./ Blessed are the merciful,/ for they will be shown mercy./ Blessed are the clean of heart,/ for they will see God./ Blessed are the peacemakers,/ for they will be called children of God./ Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,/ for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven./ Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus goes up a mountain and sits down to teach. In the Old Testament, we find Moses, the great teacher, also going up a mountain to receive the Law, and then sitting down to teach it. However, Jesus is not receiving a law; he is giving one.
Theologian N.T. Wright has pointed out that the Old Testament is essentially an unfinished symphony. It is the articulation of a hope but without a realization of that hope. Thus, as the fulfillment of Israel’s entire story, Jesus begins his primary teaching with the Beatitudes, a title that stems from the Latin noun beātitūdō, meaning “happy” or “blessed.”
Through this series of paradoxes, surprises, and reversals, Jesus begins setting a topsy-turvy universe aright. How should we understand them? A key is the Greek word makarios, rendered “blessed” or “happy” or perhaps even “lucky,” which is used to start each of the Beatitudes.
And so, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” We might say, “How lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things.” Here Jesus is telling us how to realize our deepest desire, which is the desire for God and not for passing things that only bring temporary comfort.
As published at Daily Gospel Reflections by Bishop Robert Barron, Monday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time, June 8, 2020
The Secret of the Beatitudes
The secret subject of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus. It is only on the basis of this subject that we can discover the entire meaning of this key text of Christian faith and life. The Sermon on the Mount is not some exaggerated and unreal moral lecture that loses any definite relationship to our life and seems completely impractical. Nor is it, as the opposite hypothesis would have, merely a mirror in which it becomes clear that everyone is and remains a sinner in everything and can only reach salvation through unconditional grace. This contrast between moralism and the theory of pure grace, with a complete antithesis between law and Gospel, does not help one to enter into the text but rather to repel it from one.
Christ is the middle, the mean, that unites the two, and it is only discovering Christ in the text that opens it up for us and enables it to become a word of hope…. If we get to the bottom of the Beatitudes, the secret subject, Jesus, appears everywhere. He it is in whom it becomes clear what it means to be poor in spirit: it is he who mourns, who is meek, who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, who is the merciful. He is pure in heart, he is the peacemaker, he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake. All the sayings of the Sermon on the Mount are flesh and blood in him. In this way we can finally discern…its actual definite instructions for us: the Sermon on the Mount is a summons to follow Jesus Christ in discipleship.
Pope Benedict XVI
His Holiness Benedict XVI reigned as pope from 2005 to 2013. Adapted, as published by Magnificat, June 2020, [From The Yes of Jesus Christ: Spiritual Exercises in Faith, Hope, and Love, translated by Robert Nowell].
Be not afraid! And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always. Holy Family pray for us. Amen.