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.