The Gospel according to Matthew (Mt 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.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Jesus, thank you for teaching us how to be happy and holy by giving us the beatitudes. Help me to learn how to love others as you have loved me (cf. John 13:34).
Encountering Christ: We have all heard in one way or the other that we need to have the “right attitude for gratitude”. Your attitude is what helps us get through the day and the right attitude allows us to receive “The Heights of Holiness”. Therefore, we need to have the “Attitude for the Beatitudes”!
Today’s Scripture, we are given the incredibly high calling of the Beatitudes to ponder. These lessons were taught by Jesus on a hill just north of the Sea of Galilee. Many were coming to Jesus to listen to Him preach and to witness His many miracles. They flocked to Him in this remote location and Jesus had them recline as He preached what is now referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount” which takes place shortly after Jesus began His public ministry.
You think to yourself, it’s pretty hard to be perfect (like Jesus) and abide by the original 10 Commandments but now I have 8 more laws to abide by?! Allow me to put things in perspective; our Jewish Brothers and sisters believe and abide to their own set of rules, in fact, they have 613 rules or commandments … 613! They are called “mitzvot”. They cover many issues, including instructions about food, diet, punishments, how and when God should be worshipped. Jews agreed to follow these rules when they were given to Moses as part of the covenant. So now we know that the grass is greener on our side regarding following rules.
As the people listened to this new teacher speak with new authority and wisdom, they may have been excited and confused at the same time. To hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful and clean of heart, and to be a peacemaker could have been accepted. But why was it that being poor, mournful, and meek were considered blessings? And even more challenging, why was it good to be persecuted for the sake of righteousness or insulted and falsely accused because of Jesus?
When Jesus’ new and radical teaching is clearly understood, it is not only His first disciples who may have been confused and excited at the same time. You, too, if you truly listen to His teachings and understand what He means, will find that you are challenged to the core of your being. Jesus’ teaching must be embraced, fully, and without hesitation.
The Beatitudes are our call to perfection. They lay out for us the path by which we travel to the heights of holiness and obtain the glory of Heaven. They are our fine-tuned and detailed road map to the fullness of happiness and joy. They are our prescribed “Attitude for the Beatitudes”. But they also call us to a radical transformation of our minds and in our actions. They are not “easily” embraced, in the sense that they require that we turn from every selfish tendency we have and choose to live free of every earthly temptation, attachment and sin. Perfection awaits those who listen to, understand, and embrace the Beatitudes. So it’s time to analyze our attitude and accept our prescribed attitude.
Closing Prayer: Lord of all holiness, You are perfect in every way. You lived every virtue and Beatitude to perfection. Allow me to have the attitude of Holiness so that I will find the happiness and fulfillment You wish to bestow. Jesus, I trust in You.
Action of the Day: Try to find time to take each Beatitude to prayer. Our Lord has much to say to you through this sermon. Don’t hesitate to allow Him to lead you to the heights of holiness through it.
ATTITUDES of our Day!