What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8
you confound the world’s wisdom by giving
your blessing to the lowly and pure in heart:
give us such a hunger and thirst for justice
and perseverance in striving for peace,
that in our words and deeds
the world may see the promise of your kingdom,
which has been revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
- Micah 6:1-8
- Psalm 15
- 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
- Matthew 5:1-12
- Isaiah 58:1-9a
- Psalm 112
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-13
- Matthew 5:13-20
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven …
Today’s Gospel is the beautiful “Beatitudes” reading from the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew’s compilation of the sayings and teachings of Jesus. The word “blessed,” as used by Jesus in the eight maxims, was written in Greek as makarios, a word which indicates a joy that is God-like in its serenity and totality.
Specific Greek words used throughout the text indicate several important meanings:
‘The poor in spirit:’ those who are detached from material things, who put their trust in God.
“The sorrowing:” this Beatitude speaks of the value of caring and compassion — the hallmarks of Jesus’ teaching.
“The lowly:” the Greek word used here is praotes — true humility that banishes all pride; the “blessed” who accept the necessity to learn and grow and realize their need to be forgiven.
“They who show mercy:” the Greek word chesedh used here indicates the ability to get “inside a person’s a skin” until we can see things from his/her perspective, consider things from his/her experience mind and feel his/her joys and sorrows.
“The peacemakers:” peace is not merely the absence of trouble or discord but peace is a positive condition: it is everything that provides and makes for humanity’s highest good; note, too, that the “blessed” are described as peace-makers and not simply peace-lovers.
The Beatitudes call us to a very different set of values than those of our dog-eat-dog-success-is-everything-get-them- before-they-get-you-bottom-line-based world. We are called, as Zephaniah (Reading 1) preaches, “to seek the Lord in all things.”
As a people of faith we are called to focus our lives on the “blessedness” of the Sermon on the Mount: to seek our joy and fulfilment in God above all things. Our “blessedness” cannot be measured by our portfolios, celebrity or intellect, but in our ability to grasp that we exist not in and of ourselves but by and in the love of God.
The “blessed” of the Gospel have embraced a spirit of humble gratitude before the God who gives, nurtures and sustains our lives. The “blessed” seek to respond to such unfathomable love the only way they can: by returning that love to others, God’s children, as a way of returning it to God. © Connections/MediaWorks
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