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The Beatitudes

Gospel Reading: 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.”

Commenting on the Beatitudes in his book Jesus of Nazareth (Part I), Pope Benedict XVI says that the Beatitudes are paradoxes. The standards of the world are turned upside down as soon as things are seen in the right perspective, that is, in terms of God’s values, so different from those of the world. In fact, who would venture to say that the poor, hungry, weeping, hated, and persecuted are lucky and happy? But illumined with the light of God, the poor in worldly terms and the unfortunate ones have every reason to rejoice because they are companions in Jesus’ way, they live by new standards, and they share something of the reality to come. The Beatitudes are the image of Jesus, and it is he who brings joy in the midst of want and affliction.

The Beatitudes are first paradigmatically lived by Jesus himself. Jesus is poor, meek, a bringer of peace, one who suffers for God’s sake. Yet there is so much joy in him, and after suffering and dying, he shares the glory of the Father. Now the mystery of the cross and the resurrection is transported to the lives of the disciples through the Beatitudes. As the followers of Jesus live his cross in their suffering, the splendor of the resurrection already shines through and brings blessedness in their lives.

What brings joy and happiness to your life?

Can you be happy in the midst of trials and afflictions?

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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: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.