Vocation Meditation -
Solemnity of All Saints 2009
When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak and taught them, saying:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Rejoice and be glad, for our reward is great in heaven."
On this solemnity of All Saints, the liturgy gives us the Sermon on the Mount, an occasion to reflect on our blessedness and be reminded of our home with God.
It is also to be noted that Matthew placed this passage after the call of the Twelve. He shows us Jesus instructing the newly formed circle of disciples, about His style of living, indeed, the good news that they must take as the rule of discipleship if they were to work with Him in His kingdom.
For this reason, one great scholar called the Sermon on the Mount 'the Ordination Address to the Twelve'. Before they could take charge of the Church and many Christian communities, they must be steeped in the teachings of Jesus. Living them is knowing Christ and knowing Christ is knowing the will of the Father.
The Sermon on the Mount is also called the summary of the faith. Matthew collected Jesus' teachings into one single sermon that distills His consistent teachings on the greatest of all the commandments: charity. The word 'blessed' in Greek is a very special word. In Christian use, it refers to a state where one enjoys a God-like joy. What Jesus exalts here are the opposites of worldly measures. They are the poor in spirit, the pure, the meek, the peacemakers, the merciful, those who mourn, those persecuted for what is right and for the sake of the Kingdom of God. The blessedness Jesus declares outsmarts the voices of selfishness, despair, hatred, and meaninglessness. Jesus offers the joy that is serene, self-contained and full of hope in the promises of God. These are teachings that the apostles lived and later died for Christ.
Lastly, they contain the triumphant shouts of bliss, the taste of bliss enjoyed by the saints, the faithful ones who are now home with God!
Blessed are you...!
What beatitude do I live best in following Christ?
The beatitudes are the signature lifestyles of those who want to follow You seriously. May I possess the God-like joy you offer as I strive each day to live that beatitude that brings me more closely to Your Son. Amen.
For the full Gospel reading for this Sunday, visit the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops site.