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Fr Ray: The Beatitudes

32nd Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year B - 11th November 2018

Rejoice and be glad! (Gaudete et exultate) is a pastoral letter of Pope Francis on the call to holiness in today’s world.  He describes the eight Beatitudes given on the Sermon on the Mount as the Christian’s identity card. (MT 5:3-12)

1st Beatitude—”blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”

Paragraph 67.  The Gospel invites us to peer into the depths of our heart, to see where we find our security in life.  Usually the rich feel secure in their wealth, and think that, if that wealth is threatened, the whole meaning of their earthly life can collapse.

Paragraph 68.  Wealth ensures nothing.  Indeed, once we think we are rich, we can become so self-satisfied that we leave no room for God’s word, for the love of our brothers and sisters or for the enjoyment of the most important things in life.  In this way, we miss out on the greatest treasure of all.

2nd Beatitude—”Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth”

Paragraph 71.  These are strong words in a world that from the beginning has been a place of conflict, disputes and enmity on all sides, where we constantly pigeonhole others on the basis of their ideas, their customs even their way of speaking or dressing.

Jesus proposes a different way of doing things:  the way of meekness.  This is what we see him doing with his disciples.  It is what we contemplate on his entrance to Jerusalem:  “Behold, your king is coming to you, humble and on a donkey”  (Matthew 21.5)  Reacting with meekness and humility:  that is holiness.

3rd Beatitude—”Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted”

Paragraph 75.  The world tells us exactly the opposite:  entertainment, pleasure, division and escape make for the good life.  The worldly person ignores problems of sickness or sorrow in the family or all around him;  he averts his gaze.

Paragraph 76.  A person who sees things as they truly are and sympathizes with pain and sorrow is capable of touching life’s depths and finding authentic happiness.   He or she is consoled, not by the world but by Jesus.

Knowing how to mourn with others;  that is holiness.

Next month we will consider Beatitudes 4 to 6.


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