Becoming saints

Next Sunday is the celebration of the Solemnity of All Saints. You can read a complete commentary on the Gospel here.

1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. (Matthew 5:1-12)

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Sermon on the Mount

In today’s gospel we hear Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount:
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… (Mt 5:1-12)  They are words familiar to all Christians. They are words that have been parsed and prodded for meaning since the time of Christ. Continue reading

Simple and to the point

Some things are indeed complicated, deserving of our time, energy, and perseverance. Today’s gospel from Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount is one of those things.

Jesus said to his disciples: “You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Mt 5:43-44) Continue reading

But I say to you

Next Sunday is the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ 39 But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on (your) right cheek, turn the other one to him as well. 40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:38-48) Continue reading

Habits

“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors, You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment. But I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment” (Matthew 5:21-22). Yikes!  What are we supposed to do with such dire warnings?  Where is the unconditional love we’d much rather hear about?  This sounds like it’s chock full of threats by a God that expected too much of us. I mean, come on, I haven’t murdered anyone! Sure, I have experienced anger at times and with even with people I love. But, hey, it happens. “It’s not like anyone has died!” Continue reading

Amen, I say to you

Next Sunday is the 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

What began on the 4th Sunday continues here on the 6th Sunday: the Sermon on the Mount. The gospel for this Sunday is long and contains five connected, but different thoughts, suggesting five teachings presented by Jesus (Matthew 5:17-37) Continue reading

Blessed are…

Next Sunday is the 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time in Year A. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

1 When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 He began to teach them, saying: 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. 6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. 7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8 Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10 Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.  (Mt 5:1-12) Continue reading

Righteousness: loving

sermon-on-the-mount43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have? Do not the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that? Do not the pagans do the same? 48 So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect. Continue reading

Righteousness: extra mile

sermon-on-the-mount40 If anyone wants to go to law with you over your tunic, hand him your cloak as well. 41 Should anyone press you into service for one mile, go with him for two miles. 42 Give to the one who asks of you, and do not turn your back on one who wants to borrow.

Again Jesus returns to the legal setting of the courtroom. This time to describe more than what the law commands, but what God proposes as true righteousness. Continue reading

Righteousness: against the grain

sermon-on-the-mountJesus’ continues to teach with authority (but I say to you…) to his disciples even as the crowd listens in (cf. 5:1-2). The fifth example used by Jesus (vv.38-41) is one that perhaps most goes “against the grain” of our human reaction. Here Jesus challenges the idea of retribution, revenge, a tit-for-tat model of justice – and the means by which people seek redress in judicial arenas.  For some communities, these verses form the key verses for their belief in non-violent resistance. Continue reading