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MONDAY HOMILY: Becoming a Person of The Beatitudes

By Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds
June 10th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The key for unlocking the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount is simply this:  Jesus is the man of the beatitudes.  Through his preaching, the Lord is opening a door of understanding into his divine and human life.  The virtues Jesus articulates are part and parcel of his life. To follow Jesus is to become a person of the beatitudes. The Beatitudes teach us how to follow Christ in living as members of his eternal Kingdom.

SUGAR LAND, TX (Catholic Online) - During the course of his public ministry, Jesus undoubtedly repeated himself over and over again.  After all, he preached to different crowds in various places and across an extended period of time.  Like a politician seeking office (excuse the comparison!), Jesus must have had a few "stump speeches" to which he returned with some frequency, so that he could lay a common foundation of teaching for those who were to become his disciples.

This is not unlike a catechism teacher who repeats to same lessons year after year.  The teaching remains the same.  The students come and go.

At the heart of Jesus' preaching is the Sermon on the Mount.  The Beatitudes are the beginning and the summary of that long discourse (it fills three chapters of the Gospel according to St. Matthew).  Beginning today, the Gospel of the Mass returns to this foundation stone of the Good News (Mar 5:1-12).

"Blessed are the poor in spirit. blessed are they who mourn. blessed are the meek." 

The key for unlocking the meaning of the Sermon on the Mount is simply this:  Jesus is the man of the beatitudes.  Through his preaching, the Lord is opening a door of understanding into his divine and human life.  The virtues Jesus articulates are part and parcel of his life.

To follow Jesus is to become a person of the beatitudes.

The Lord teaches his disciples that to live a life in union with him they must not only avoid sin - this is already fully articulated in the Ten Commandments, which remain perennially valid - but must lead a new kind of life: One that is firmly rooted in the Kingdom of God.

The Beatitudes teach us how to follow Christ in living as members of his eternal Kingdom.

Poverty of spirit leads one to recognize that the greatest good available to mankind is to lead a life rooted in God.  This is the virtue that orients our desires to eternal life.

A spirit of mourning helps to reorder one's life according to what is most essential and lasting.  It opens a person to the discovery of how God accompanies us in all the circumstances of life.

To thirst for righteousness orients Jesus' disciples to a love of authentic justice, the first principle of which is to give to God the love and honor due to him.  This beatitude expands one's interior vision, it having been made sensitive to the victory that Christ has already won, and which is even now being applied, soul-by-soul.

To be merciful is to live with a forgiving heart, even when one has been deeply wounded by another.  It is the foundation of one's hope to find pardon from God, which is given so freely and richly.

Having a clean heart simplifies and un-complicates one's life.  By removing the detritus of impurity, it becomes possible to grasp that interior freedom which leads to a joyful embrace of God's will.

The blessing of peace orders one's life according to the sacrifice of the Cross - the source of true peace.  Allowing the peace of Christ to reign in one's heart is a condition of living as a child of God.

Even persecution for the sake of Christ is presented as a blessing.  So many people reviled the Lord, especially as he hung upon the Cross.  When we share in this condition, we are especially united with the saving grace that flows from it.

The Beatitudes open a path for each follower of Christ.  They are stepping-stones on the way to the Kingdom of God. We cannot live them fully without the grace of the Holy Spirit. Let us beseech the three Divine Persons, asking for the favor to be men and women of The Beatitudes.

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Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.

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