Blessed

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.”
(Matthew 5:1-12)

Scripture Study

5:3 The poor in spirit: in the Old Testament, the poor (anawim) are those who are without material possessions and whose confidence is in God (see Is 61:1; Zep 2:3; in the NAB the word is translated lowly and humble, respectively, in those texts). Matthew added in spirit in order either to indicate that only the devout poor were meant or to extend the beatitude to all, of whatever social rank, who recognized their complete dependence on God.

5:4 Cf. Is 61:2 “(The Lord has sent me) … to comfort all who mourn.” They will be comforted: here the passive is a “theological passive” equivalent to the active “God will comfort them”; so also in Mt 5:6, 7.

5:5 Cf. Ps 37:11, “… the meek shall possess the land.” In the psalm “the land” means the land of Palestine; here it means the kingdom.

5:6 For righteousness: a Matthean addition.

5:8 Cf. Ps 24:4. Only one “whose heart is clean” can take part in the temple worship. To be with God in the temple is described in Ps 42:2 as “beholding his face,” but here the promise to the clean of heart is that they will see God not in the temple but in the coming kingdom.

5:10 Righteousness here, as usually in Matthew, means conduct in conformity with God’s will.

5:12 The prophets who were before you: the disciples of Jesus stand in the line of the persecuted prophets of Israel. Some would see the expression as indicating also that Matthew considered all Christian disciples as prophets.

Scripture Reflection

Friends, today in the Beatitudes we hear a series of paradoxes, surprises, reversals. A topsy-turvy universe is being set aright. Let me propose a key for translating these Beatitudes. The word found in all of them is makarios, rendered “blessed” or “happy” or perhaps even “lucky.”

“Blessed are the poor in spirit….” How lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things. Here Jesus is telling us here how to realize our deepest desire, which is the desire for God.

“Blessed are they who mourn….” We might interpret it this way: “How lucky are you if you are not addicted to good feelings.” Doing the will of God sometimes involves the acceptance of enormous pain.

“Blessed are the meek….” One of the greatest seductions the world holds out to us is power. But what I ought to do is eschew worldly power, so that the power of the will of God might reign in me.

– Bishop Robert Barron

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.