Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 29, 2023
Fr. Josť Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B.
Pastor of the Church of St. Peter
North St. Paul, Minnesota
Sunday Reading Meditations
The Sermon on the Mount, also known as the Beatitudes, was Jesus' first programmatic speech, his inaugural address, in which he synthetically expressed the essential core of his mission.
In this sermon, Christ proclaimed what it means to be Christian. As a constitution defines a country, the Beatitudes describe what a Christian should be.
When someone inaugurates a mission, he sets forth the most important ideas he plans to accomplish. Even in my case, the homily I delivered during my first Mass twenty-seven years ago contained the essential ideas I strive to live each day.
The Sermon on the Mount came about in a very curious manner. Jesus delivered it after experiencing a huge crowd. A crowd is always inspiring.
Afterwards, Jesus went up to the mountain, the most beautiful place in the Holy Land, with a tranquil view of the Sea of Galilee and the surrounding region, in order to converse with the Father. In the intimacy of prayer, he sought to understand and clarify the mission the Father had assigned to him.
The Sermon on the Mount was the fruit of Jesus' meeting with the crowds and his prayer on the mountain. The Gospel says: "Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he sat down, his disciples came to him" (Mt 5:1).
Jesus fixed his eyes on his disciples as he delivered his magnificent address but also directed what he was saying to the crowd, that is to say, to all the generations of humankind and all of us.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promises seven things: the Kingdom of Heaven, consolation , inheritance of the land, satisfaction, mercy, the vision of God, the title of the children of God and great reward in heaven.
However, there are also eight prerequisites; to be poor in spirit, to mourn, to be meek, to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to be merciful, to be clean of heart, to be a peacemaker, to suffer persecution and to endure insults.
If only those who fulfilled all these prerequisites could receive Jesus' promises, which seems impossible, was Jesus proclaiming the unattainable?
On the contrary, Jesus himself is the embodiment of the realization of the promises of the Beatitudes. He is "blessed." He invites all of us to blessed with him and in him.
To be blessed and live the Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus is a matter of letting Jesus lead our lives. To be blessed, we only have to allow Jesus to live in us.
May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us obtain her docility of heart so that we, too, can live the Beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus. Amen.