When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Reflection by Janet Derby
Often when I read the Beatitudes, I wonder about how Jesus could say that those who mourn, or hunger for righteousness, or are persecuted can be counted among the blessed. I read something this week that I had not recognized before – that this beginning of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ first public act in Matthew’s gospel. What that says to me is that Jesus was defining his audience. He was letting the people know that those who were struggling had reason to hope.
We too, are Jesus’ audience. We can certainly find ourselves in this group of those who need a blessing at one time or another. Yet, Jesus’ words are also a call to accountability. We are blessed to be a blessing. When we are spirit-filled, we must share God’s kin-dom; when others mourn, we must comfort them; when we are privileged, we must fight for righteousness.
God of Righteousness and Mercy, Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me. Amen