Based on the Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12a
All Saints’ Day! This Sunday’s Gospel says a lot about saintly living. It’s Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the most familiar and beloved of Jesus’ major teachings. Jesus begins that teaching with the Beatitudes. The word “beatitudes” comes from the Latin word “beatus,” which means “blessed” or “happy.”
Jesus tells us we are blessed not only when things are good but also when things are not so good. God is with us always. When we turn to him and trust him for everything, he will bless us and help us to grow in our faith.
Jesus gives a new explanation of happiness. He says, “God will bless you people who are poor; his kingdom belongs to you. God will bless you hungry people; you will be given what you need. God will bless you people who are forgiving and peacemakers; you will be called his children. God will bless you people who are treated badly for doing right; you belong to the kingdom of heaven. God will bless you people who are sad and sorrowful; you will be comforted. God will bless you when others hate you or say cruel things and evil lies about you, all because you follow me. When these things happen to you, be happy and rejoice. You will have a great reward in heaven.”
Wow! Isn’t that an upside down idea of happiness? In other words, Jesus says:
- Happiness is not: having a lot of money; being popular; having power over others; being famous; or being able to do anything we want whenever we want.
- Happiness is: having our hearts centered on loving and serving God and others; not becoming attached to worldly things; bringing peace and gentleness into the lives of others; being slow to take offense from others; being forgiving; and trusting God in times of sorrow, disappointment, hurt and persecution.
To help us live a “blessed” life, God freely gives us a share in his life – grace. Through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and reconciliation, we receive his grace and Jesus touches and blesses our lives to make good choices, to trust in his promises, to love as he loves, and then someday to be with him in heaven forever.
The saints imitated Jesus and are our role models for living the Beatitudes. Following their examples, we too can strive to become saints and someday celebrate with them before God’s heavenly throne.
Truly blessed are we! Lord Jesus, help us to live the way you teach us in the Beatitudes.