Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: June 7, Lectionary # 359: I Kings 17:1-6. Psalm
121:1-2,3-4,5-6,7-8. Matthew 5:1-12:
Jesus’ living voice is heard as we listen to the reading of the beatitudes.
He begins his Sermon on the Mount which will last from chapter 5 through 7,
the first of five great discourses from him. He is seated as he proclaims
the blessings upon those who effectively carry out what they imply in our
journey with him. As a teacher in the first century, the position of a
teacher while giving lessons was to be seated. Just as Moses, the great
prophet and teacher of the Israelites proclaimed the Ten Words (the
commandments), Jesus does the same in his great discourse sometimes called
the Magna Carta of the Christian way of living. It is not an impossible
demand upon us, nor is it an interim ethic. Saints are made by practicing
it, and, the first of them would be his own mother who taught him how to
speak clearly as well as in interesting parables. People flocked and
gathered around him as they listened to his words.
Matthew has eight beatitudes in this sermon; Luke has four. Benedict T.
Viviano, O.P., has this to say about a beatitude: …”a beatitude is an
exclamation of congratulations that recognizes an existing state of
happiness. Here the gospel begins with a cry of joy, based on the nearness
of the kingdom of God.” (New Jerome Biblical Commentary, p.640). Each one
calls us, his disciples, to the quest and practice of holiness and a life
of discipleship in following the one who proclaims and lives these
beatitudes, Jesus himself. Each beatitude builds upon the others and
increases their effectiveness through our living them out. We may wish to
take a look at them carefully and see which one fits our personality the
most and which one is a challenge to us. We may wish to take each one
during the coming days and make it our motivational prayer for the day.
This would give us a prayer theme for a week and one day, that is, for an
Just sitting with Jesus in our room and listening to him as we read them is
prayer. We listen with our hearts as do the poor of God who depend totally
upon him (the first beatitude). We need not take them in the order they
are given since each one does help the other to have a deeper meaning.
Certain beatitudes may be more proper for a given day with the things that
lie ahead of us or the persons with whom we may come in contact.
Meekness may be proper for those who are short tempered or prone to anger.
Meekness is found in Moses and in the Psalms. It means “slow to anger,”
gentle with others, patient and kind. Psalm 37:11 is a good insight into
its meaning: “But the humble shall inherit the land, and delight themselves
in the abundance of peace.” Meekness tells us not to fret (don’t we have
enough of these fretters?). Nor should we murmur or be agitated about the
success of those who seem to us to be wrongdoers. Psalm 37 can help us to
meditate on the second beatitude. Tertuallian called this Psalm a mirror
of divine providence.
Jesus, you are our teacher. We will be listening to you as you continue
your sermon to us. We praise you for giving us these blessings/beatitudes.
They are daily graces that lead us on the right path toward the kingdom.
May we follow you closely in our living them out and in our listening to
your first sermon in Matthew’s Gospel. Amen.