The blessed

Fourth Sunday of Ordinary TIme Year A

Today’s Gospel is sometimes called “the Sermon on the Mount” or the Beatitudes and in them Jesus gives us a picture of the qualities that God desires in his people and at the same time help us to recognise God in the world.

Some people spend all their lives trying to find the secret of happiness. After all we all recognise that happiness makes us feel good. Yet Jesus was not just talking about fleeting moments of happiness but wanted his followers to know about the things or people who make us truly happy forever. The Beatitudes are at the heart of Jesus’ teaching, they fulfil and go beyond the ten commandments which were written set in stone. The Beatitudes are written on our hearts. They are a framework for Christian living, our ultimate desire is to be with God in the kingdom of heaven. Death is not the end but the beginning of a new life. We are called to beatitude by living out the Beatitudes in our daily lives. What does this mean? If we translate the word “blessed” in the gospel as “happy” then Jesus is calling the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted as being happy which is not what we would usually think about these people. Jesus is saying that divine favour is upon those who are poor, those who mourn, those who are persecuted. Jesus is saying that the kingdom of heaven is not about power, strength, land, wealth, or possessions but is about what is inside our hearts. It is an attitude a way of living and reacting to our neighbour any person who needs our help. It is radical and life changing, shocking almost and the Beatitudes invite our response to God and to each other. The Beatitudes reveal who Jesus is as he lived them perfectly. The Beatitudes also help us to recognise God in the world and we are called to be alongside those who are persecuted, those who mourn, those who are poor, in need, neglected. We are called to be peacemakers and help to bring about justice in our homes, country and in the world. Jesus is teaching us that if we want to live a happy life and find true human fulfilment then we should live out the Beatitudes. Only then will we recognise God’s presence in the world and the face of Jesus in the people we least expect and begin to taste the eternal life to which we are called.  

A reading from the Gospel of Matthew (Mt 5: 1-12a)

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The Gospel of the Lord
Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ

  1. Read the Gospel story so that you are familiar with it.
  2. Reflect on what the Gospel story is saying to you. Which points would you highlight and why?
  3. This week talk with your family about what it means to be happy or to be blessed explain that the happiness that Jesus taught does not come from having lots of material possessions and money. It contrasts with the messages we hear in our society today.
  4. We are called to beatitude by living the Beatitudes. Jesus invites us to look at others and to see the face of Jesus in the people we least expect to see him. Where is God in all the mess of our lives? He is the one constant which leads us to true happiness in the kingdom of Heaven. St Thomas Aquinas said, “God alone can satisfy the will of a human being.” 
  5. Together with your family find the right time to read this Gospel. The environment helps, so before you start, prepare;
    i. The Bible reading from St Matthew (Mt 5:1-12a)
    ii. Cover the table with a green cloth
    iii. A computer/laptop with the readings and clips
  6. Go through the steps with your children (2 age groups are being suggested).
  7. Feel free to adapt to your situation
  8. Be creative 😊 
  9. Go to the Prayer Corner section to continue praying as a family. 

Today Jesus teaches us what it means to be happy. Happiness is not a feeling brought on when good things happen to us. It is an attitude that we have because of what is in our hearts. It is a way of reacting to the people around us. Jesus teaches this in the Beatitudes.

  • In the Beatitudes Jesus teaches us what it means to be truly happy.
  • Large heart template/Rectangle template
  • Craft card
  • Ribbon/string
  • Scissors/glue/hole punch
  • Pencil/colours

What would your answer be if someone asked you to tell them what makes you happy? Maybe you might say getting a present, like new toys or clothes. Maybe you might say getting full marks in a test at school or scoring the winning goal in a football game. All of these might be a very good answer as they make us feel happy for a while but eventually the happiness wears off. The happiness we feel when getting what we want doesn’t last. Jesus teaches us that true happiness comes from something different. 

God wants us to be happy but what Jesus said about happiness is quite different from what we might expect. One day Jesus was on a mountain and there were many followers there listening to what he said, and Jesus began to teach them about happiness.  It is called the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes. Jesus tells us that we are happy, or blessed, when we are kind to others, when we forgive them and when we live peacefully with them. That we are happy or blessed when we put or faith in God and do what is right even if others are not. Sometimes this is very hard to do the right thing and make good choices. If two of our friends are arguing it is hard not to take sides, but Jesus encourages us to be a peacemaker. In the Beatitudes Jesus teaches us how to treat people with respect and dignity we are all part of God’s family and so we should treat others as we would want them to treat us. Be happy when you help others and get along peacefully with one another because it is then that you will know true happiness is not a feeling that is brought about by the things that happen to us. It is an attitude that we have in our hearts because we are followers of Jesus.

To remember where true happiness comes from you can make a “Happy Heart.” Cut out 2 large hearts and stick onto craft card. Punch hole around the edges and take a ribbon or string to thread through the two hearts but leave the top open. Cut out the rectangles and write one letter on each spelling HAPPINESS and place them inside the “Happy Heart.” On the back write Dear God, help us to have the happiness that comes from inside us. Amen

Listen to the song, The Beatitudes.

Sign of the Cross.

Loving God, we are all members of your family. Help us to find true happiness in our hearts whenever we help others by reaching out when they are sad, lonely, or frightened. Help us to make good choices and make others happy by feeling blessed. Amen

In today’s Gospel Jesus teaches us the secret of being happy forever. This Gospel is sometimes called “The sermon on the Mount” or “The Beatitudes.” Beatitudes means ‘blessed’ or ‘happy.’ Jesus teaches what it means to be truly happy.

  • That Jesus’ message of how to be ‘happy’ is not always what we expect it to be.
  •  The Beatitudes reveal that happiness can be found in the opposite of what society teaches us. 
  • Beatitude cubes template
  • Craft card
  • Scissors/glue
  • Colours

Today we hear how Jesus went up on a mountain side and began to teach the people. He was teaching them and us what it means to be truly happy and the words he spoke are surprising for us. They are not what we expect to hear when talking about “happiness.” They are called the Beatitudes and they speak about the kind of people who are “blessed” or “happy.” Jesus mentions the poor, the humble, the peacemakers, the people who forgive others when they hurt them (merciful). He tells us that “happiness” is found in the opposite of what society teaches us.

Have you ever seen an advertisement which promises “happiness?” Maybe it is an advert for shoes, food, games, or a new model of bike. Maybe it’s advertising a holiday to a particular country which promises fun and adventure. The message they send is not the same message that Jesus is teaching us through the Beatitudes. Society says that money, possessions, pleasure and power will make us happy. Jesus teaches that these things only make us happy for a short time and what he offers is happiness that lasts forever. We find this happiness in other people whom we might not think could possibly be happy. Jesus says that the people who are poor in spirit are happy because they will be rewarded in the kingdom of heaven. Those who mourn will be happy or blessed because they have faith in God. The merciful will be happy, that is the people who forgive when others hurt them. The peace makers will know that peace comes from being a part of the family of God. Do you think that this is an important message? It is a message that tells us that true happiness comes when we choose to live the values and show the attitudes which Jesus teaches us. It is not always easy but if we try to live as Jesus teaches then we will know the true meaning of happiness.

If you would like to know more about the Beatitudes follow this link.

Also, you can print the 4 Beatitude Cubes and try to match them. Each side has either the beginning or the end of each Beatitude.

Listen to the song, The Beatitudes Song.

Sign of the cross

God of love, thank you for the many people who work for your kingdom on earth. We are blessed by the examples of the merciful, pure in heart, poor in spirit, the peacemakers who show us how to live in your ways. Help us to also follow your ways in our daily lives. Amen

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Sunday Scripture readings. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the upcoming Sunday's Scripture readings, helping you to connect the Scripture to daily life in a meaningful way.