Beginning His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reveals the path to happiness in the Beatitudes. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by growing in the Virtue of Magnanimity so he can seek greatness in the Beatitudes and by seeking the Fruits of Kindness, Gentleness and Self-control from the the Holy Spirit so he can be strengthened to bear witness to Jesus Christ and His holy Catholic Church.
4th Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 5:1-12
As a Person of the Trinity, Jesus called Moses to ascend a mountain to receive The 10 Commandments (Exod 20). In Matthew 5-7, Jesus figuratively becomes a “New Moses” as He ascends a mountain in Galilee to deliver The Sermon on the Mount, a summary of the New Covenant, the perfection of the Old Covenant.
Taking the sitting position of a great rabbi, Jesus calls His disciples and teaches. He starts with eight Beatitudes (“happinesses”) which describe how men can grow in happiness in this life and receive the perfection of happiness as adopted “sons of God” in the Beatific Vision of God in the Kingdom of Heaven. Those allowed into the Kingdom of Heaven will be forgiven, comforted, and receive the satisfaction of justice in Christ.
To receive these great joys, Jesus describes the mindset and actions of the blessed. Men must be “poor in spirit”, recognizing their sinfulness and need for salvation, relying completely upon the mercy of Almighty God. Men must “mourn” the scourge of sin and suffer trials in life and turn to God in piety. Men must be “meek”, enduring injustice with humble patience rather than scathing wrath, and by offering gentleness and kindness to others. Men must “hunger and thirst for righteousness”, making the pursuit of personal holiness their relentless goal. Men must be “merciful”, forgiving those who trespass and sacrificing to serve others. Men must be “clean of heart”, resisting lustful and other evil thoughts. Men must be “peacemakers”, seeking union with God, living peacefully, and sharing the peace of Jesus with others. To draw men to Jesus, men must accept being “persecuted for the sake of righteousness”, fearlessly imitating Jesus’ own persecution for the Gospel.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as He proclaims the Beatitudes: Jesus, speaking to vast crowds on a mountain, is physically robust with a powerful Voice that can be heard by all; Divine Knowledge, Jesus offers supernatural insights from His first-hand experience into the mysterious reality of Heaven; He offers Hope of the happiness that comes to men who believe in Him, in this life and the next; Divine Prophet, Jesus presents the Beatitudes in a poetic and memorable way which touches the hearts of men across the millennia.
Seek greatness in the Beatitudes and receive happiness
Realize: The Beatitudes are Jesus’ call to all men to strive for sainthood (to be blessed, beatified), the greatest accomplishment to which a man can aspire, and His promise of the reward of true and lasting happiness; every Catholic man can find greatness and happiness by pursuing The Beatitudes.
Believe: Reflect upon man’s Vocation to Beatitude (CCC 1716-1729).
Pray: Almighty Father, help me build the Virtue of Magnanimity (a part of Fortitude) so I zealously aspire to do the great work of becoming a saint by living out the Beatitudes each day, and be rewarded with the astounding happiness Your Son has promised for those who pursue the Beatitudes.
Be strengthened by the Spirit to bear witness to Christ
Realize: Jesus commands every Catholic man to proclaim the truth of His Gospel but warns in the Beatitudes that disciples must be prepared for the angry persecution that comes when a man bears witness to the fullness of the Truth of Christ.
Believe: Reflect upon the obligation to Bear Witness to the Truth (CCC 675-677, 1816, 2471-2474).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Fruits of Kindness, Gentleness, and Self-controlso that despite angry resistance and attacks, I can lovingly and firmly bear witness to the fullness of Truth found only in Your Gospel.