Beatitudes: their fabric

Great-CommissionThe 4th Sunday (Year A) and All Saints Day includes (a) the setting of the entire discourse and (b) the opening section, universally known as the Beatitudes. Beatitudes are found elsewhere in Matthew (11:6; 13:16; 16:17; 24:46) and more frequently in Luke. They are based on a common form of expression in the poetical books of the Old Testament (e.g. Pss. 1:1; 32:1–2; 40:4; 119:1–2; 128:1), but nowhere in the Old Testament or other Jewish literature is there so long and carefully constructed a series as here. A beatitude (Latin) or makarism (Greek) is a statement in the indicative mood beginning with the adjective makarios, declaring certain people to be in a privileged, fortune circumstance. It is not original to Jesus but occurs frequently in the OT as well as in non-Scriptural Jewish and pagan writings. Used here, the beatitudes reflect the Jewish use and setting: wisdom and prophecy. Continue reading