Today’s Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
The Sermon on the Mount is one of my favorites, because the bridge between the Old and New Testaments is so beautifully woven into writing and also because the Beatitudes foreshadow or “whisper” the Works of Mercy’s primary appearance later in Matthew 25. It’s like Jesus is laying the groundwork for later…for our marching orders.
In a spectacularly super-geeky-Catholic move – read the footnotes to this Gospel – because they are rich with details, connections, and hints from Jesus! This encounter with Jesus must have been important – because we see imagery and references both backwards: to the language of Genesis, Isaiah, Chronicles and the Psalms – as well as forward: the “Blesseds” are referred to throughout all the other gospels as well as Acts, and letters from Peter, Paul, and James. We even see pieces of the Beatitudes in Revelation.
The day Jesus got out of the boat and went up the mountain to teach must have been a story told over and over again, by many people and in many places. It was a series of examples and challenges that are timeless – just as Jesus is timeless.
The Beatitudes tell us who we are at our best, and who we are in our moments of most need. They teach us what we struggle with, and what we need to watch for in taking care for others. We will strive to both seek out and become the poor in spirit. And if even for a moment, we must also be prepared to rejoice and be glad at the rejection we might face as prophets, but also people of the Way.
Mark Hart says “A soul with nothing to lose on earth is a wonderfully dangerous soul, a soul that will lead many to heaven.”
I desire to be that soul.
The Beatitudes are a great checkpoint for last year’s Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. How have I done since then? Where have I encountered the person of Jesus in the poor?
Lord Jesus, help me to be poor in spirit, so that I may look for You in the poor and seek to meet their needs without counting the cost – and also that I may be humble enough to accept help from others, knowing this too is an encounter with You.
Copyright 2017 Colleen O’Dowd
Colleen O’Dowd is the Director of Youth Ministry at Holy Spirit Parish in Stevens Point, WI. She loves being Catholic, her Converse all-stars are always liturgically correct, and she is a super-saint-geek! She blogs very occasionally at ourheartswereburningwithin.wordpress.com and can also be found @catholiccolleen on Twitter and Instagram.