Our Gospel this weekend is Matthew’s version of the beatitudes. They are the introduction to Jesus’ first sermon in Matthew’s Gospel, the Sermon on the Mount, which is three chapters long. Scholars agree that Jesus probably didn’t preach it all at one time; rather, it is a compilation that Matthew put together.
I remember hearing a Capuchin friend in Milwaukee, Michael Crosby, refer to them as the be-attitudes, that is, attitudes that will get us through life as Christ wants us to be. They are the fulfillment and the
completion of the 10 commandments. The commandments tell us not to hurt others; the beatitudes challenge us to go beyond that and live in a way that we are being generous and loving to others. The world has picked up on the commandments and put laws into place to protect us: it makes sense to forbid killing, theft, etc. But the
beatitudes call us beyond what can be comprehended from a simply human point of view, beyond what can be dictated by civil law: they call us to live our lives thinking of more than ourselves.
I would like to share my personal reflection on three of them:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Perhaps this is the basic be-attitude, for to be poor in spirit means to be able to think of others, to be able to move beyond oneself and one’s needs. The more I am able to live this way, the easier the other be-attitudes will be for me.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Perhaps the most important way we can be meek is to be compassionate and forgiving. We all make mistakes and hurt other people. When we are “proud” and not able to forgive, we bring unhappiness to ourselves and those around us, rather than peace. Being able to forgive is crucial for living Gospel values.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Another way that we live for others is to be concerned for the poor and vulnerable, those who are exploited for the benefit of others. Jesus constantly reached out to the most vulnerable. We can’t solve all the world’s problems, but we can do what is within our power to make things better.
These are a few of my reflections on what the be-attitudes mean to me, as I discern how to live my life. I invite you this week to spend time reflecting on the be-attitudes as Matthew presents them, letting them challenge you to live a more other-centered life. The more we can do that, the more we will bring Christ’s light to the world. God bless.
Church sign of the week: we are each angels with one wing and we can only fly by embracing one another.