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Sunday, November 1, 2015

A Homily, The Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12 ©

Matthew 5:1-12 ©

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the hill. There he sat down and was joined by his disciples. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:

‘How happy are the poor in spirit;
  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Happy the gentle:
  they shall have the earth for their heritage.
Happy those who mourn:
  they shall be comforted.
Happy those who hunger and thirst for what is right:
  they shall be satisfied.
Happy the merciful:
  they shall have mercy shown them.
Happy the pure in heart:
  they shall see God.
Happy the peacemakers:
  they shall be called sons of God.
Happy those who are persecuted in the cause of right:
  theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

‘Happy are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.’ (NJB)

The Homily

Much has been written about the sermon on the mount. It is hard for me to believe that I would have anything new to add to that discussion, but adding something new is not as important as sharing the story itself, how it shapes my perspective on the Gospel, and to share that perspective; to keep the conversation moving.

In this teaching Jesus shares a way of seeing the world, of living in society, of understanding our relationship to the creator; one that reverses the expectation that were prevalent in his time.

He might have said; the providence of heaven belongs to all people, regardless of who they are or where they came or how far they think they are from the love of the creator, no matter creed they profess, or what traditions bind them, no matter how little they may think about God.

The gentle seek no possessions, they have nothing to guard, are themselves unguarded and free. By freeing themselves from their desires they have gained everything.

Have hope, all sadness and all mourning come to an end.

Strive for what is right and just, for what is universal, for touches all people, give up your concerns for yourself and your tribe. The narrow path leads to misery, as the broad road leads to joy.

Mercy follows upon mercy, as the sun follows the rain.

All people will come to the vision of God; as certain as they will come to know their true selves. The fullness of God is at the center of all people. That connects us; one to the other.

Accept the parentage of the divine. Take up the task God has set before us. Love justice. Be merciful. Make peace.

The providence of heaven belongs to all people, the possession of it only comes in the sharing.


If you are abused and persecuted for the sake of peace and mercy. Have no fear, the powers of sin and evil, and the pain they bring, the reality of sickness and death; they are temporary, and will come to an end.