Gospel Reading: Mt 5:1-12a
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.”
THE BEATITUDES: PORTRAIT OF JESUS AND OF THE SAINTS
The Beatitudes, Pope Benedict XVI writes in his book Jesus of Nazareth, are the fruit of Jesus’ gaze upon the disciples. They describe their actual condition: poor, hungry, weeping, hated, and persecuted. Yet this situation in which Jesus sees his disciples becomes a promise when he looks upon them in the light of the Father. The Beatitudes are paradoxes because the standards of the world are turned upside down as soon as they are seen in terms of God’s values.
Benedict explains: “It is precisely those who are poor in worldly terms, those thought as lost souls, who are truly fortunate ones, the blessed, who have every reason to rejoice and exult in the midst of their sufferings. The Beatitudes are promises resplendent with the new image of the world and of man inaugurated by Jesus, his ‘transformation of values.’ They are eschatological promises.”
Being eschatological, however, does not mean that the joy they proclaim applies exclusively to some infinitely remote future or the next world. When a person begins to live from God’s perspective, something of the eschaton is already present.
The secret of the Beatitudes lies in its being a veiled interior biography of Jesus, a kind of portrait of his figure. Benedict refers to the gospel portrait of Jesus: “He who has no place to lay his head (cf Mt 8:20) is truly poor; he who can say, ‘Come to me… for I am meek and lowly of heart’ (cf Mt 11:28-29) is truly meek; he is the one who is pure of heart and so unceasingly beholds God. He is the peacemaker; he is the one who suffers for God’s sake.” The Beatitudes display the mystery of Christ himself. Behind them stands the figure of Christ, the man who is God. And so, as surely as the promises of the Beatitudes are realized in him, he will make sure they are realized on those who choose his option – all for the kingdom of God.
Today, the Solemnity of All Saints, we celebrate the men and women of all time who were portraits of Jesus in their own lifetime. Living the spirit of the Beatitudes, they realized the promises of the Beatitudes. The saints are the “cloud of witnesses” who spur us to follow their example of faithfulness and loving service.
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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.