Gospel Mt 5:1-12
“His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them”
Here we have before us what is perhaps the most famous and powerful sermon ever preached.
Here Jesus turns the wisdom of this world on its head. This series of paradoxical sayings show us that God’s priorities are not our own.
Where we seek the blessings of riches and comfort, Jesus tells us that it is the poor in spirit that are the blessed as the inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.
Here he is not praising poverty for its own sake, but for the disposition which comes with poverty – that of simple acknowledgment of our need before God.
As we work through each of these beatitudes, these recipes for happiness, we see that they challenge pretty well each and every one of the ways we would seek happiness: We seek riches and comfort, thinking they will bring us happiness, we seek power and influence, we seek retribution and vengeance upon those who wrong us and hold grudges. All these are short-sighted attempts to assert our own happiness or contentedness.
Instead Jesus tells us something rather different. He tells us to be merciful, to seek after righteousness and meekness – these are the things that bring us real, deep and lasting joy, not only in this life, but in the life to come.