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Father Muench Says...

Blessed are... the Beatitudes

June 21, 2023

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

This week, the Gospel readings at each daily Mass will follow Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as it is recorded in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 5. Jesus begins this Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes (Matt 5:1-12).

I love the Beatitudes. I truly enjoy preaching and teaching about the Beatitudes. I did not learn The Beatitudes as a child. We spent more time on the Ten Commandments. Now, I far prefer the Beatitudes; they are so wonderfully positive in describing how we should live the Christian life. This is a powerful message of Our Lord Jesus.

I have written here about the Beatitudes often. I realize that. I feel that when I need something to stir up my enthusiasm, I am certain it is time for the Beatitudes. Please join me as we spend some time with the Beatitudes.

The word Beatitude means a state of happiness or joy. Jesus taught the Beatitudes as the very foundation for a life of authentic Christian discipleship. Jesus believed that the Beatitudes are the way to ultimate happiness. So, the Beatitudes.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” is our realization of who we are. We are a people in need. We need our God. We must trust God to show us the way. The Holy Spirit has been sent to us to transform who we are.

“Blessed are they who mourn.” Life is filled with experiences that bring sadness, experiences that break our hearts. We mourn, and that is good for us. When we mourn, we trust that our God is always ready to support us, to stand with us. God gives us the strength to react properly to such experiences of life.

“Blessed are the meek.” Meekness is not about being weak. Rather, meekness is true humility. We must often realize that we need God, we depend on God rather than ourselves or the world. The Lord calls us to be gentle, even mild as we live our lives as disciples of the Lord. In this way, we demonstrate to others our faith, our Catholic faith.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” We are challenged here as followers and disciples of Jesus that our efforts to live a good and Christian life must be as extreme as those who are so determined because they suffer from hunger and thirst.

“Blessed are the merciful.” To be merciful means to show forgiveness and compassion to those in need. Jesus speaks many parables in the Gospels calling us to be merciful. Each time we recite the Lord’s Prayer, we make the same commitment: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

“Blessed are the clean of heart.” We are called to be so devoted to our God everyday, wanting to please him so that we may see his presence around us and recognize him while praying. We are called to accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, allowing him to make his presence real and alive in our hearts.

“Blessed are the peacemakers.” The peacemaker is quick to repent when he or she has wronged others. Peacemakers move to avoid conflict. We are called to be peacemakers as we make our world a better place, bringing gentleness and patience in our lives as we strive to imitate Jesus.

There is more in the Beatitudes. Jesus mentions a series of rewards to those who follow his Beatitudes. He mentions more to this dedication to the Beatitudes. I encourage you to discover the Beatitudes again by finding them in Matthew 5.

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