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14th June: Beatitudes (1) -- Thoughts on the Beatitudes

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them... Matthew 5:1-2

Professor William Barclay has noted that 'the Sermon on the Mount is the summary and the essence and the core of all that Jesus continuously and habitually taught...It is the opening of Jesus' whole mind to his disciples'. It contains the essential truths he wanted them to live by and give to the world. Thus nothing more significant than these three chapters of St Matthew's 'Good News' has perhaps ever been written. The Beatitudes encapsulate some of these thoughts in the forms of teaching aphorisms.

The word makarios (Gr) or beatus (L) is translated 'blessed'. Makarios means supremely joyous -- 'at the root of my being' joyous because I am in the favour of God. But why and how can this be so? Jesus explains it in these sayings, which are guidelines for the joyous or favoured life. I see these as the distinctive qualities of a new order of human beings, the living constituents of the new society, the Body of Christ.

Lord, teach me your way, and grant me grace to follow it,
that I may know your joy.

Further reading: Mt 5:1-2.


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