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4th Sunday

4th Sunday in Ordinary time 29/1/2023, Mt 5, 1-12

David E Crawford writes the following about the Beatitudes;

In writing about the poor in spirit, Matthew is not referring to individuals weak in the faith. He refers to those who are not spiritually arrogant; those who recognise their own limitations and rely completely on God. The poor in spirit are doubly blessed because they are closer to God now and their total reliance on God is the doorway into God’s kingdom. The “humble and lowly, who shall take refuge in the name of the Lord” described by Zephaniah fall into this category.

The meek, Jesus mentions, need not be timid, cowering individuals. Ancient Greeks warriors prized a meek war horse. In battle, the rider had to count on a steed responding quickly to commands. A horse that fights the bit is said to have a hard mouth, but one with a gentle mouth – a meek horse, as the Greeks described it – moves in unison with its rider. We are called to have gentle souls that respond quickly to the Spirit’s guidance so that our thoughts and action are in concert with God’s plan for us.

Blessed are the bringers and maintainers of peace. Peace is more than just the absence of conflict. The Hebrew word for peace shalom understands peace also to be harmony, tranquillity, completeness, wholeness, welfare, with all things in their right place. In short, shalom is a peace that comes from God. When Jesus says “Blessed are the peacemakers,” He means people who bring God’s peace to volatile situations as well as to troubled souls. Only one who possesses God’s peace, even at a small level or for a period of time, can bring that kind of peace to others.

Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are often persecuted. Paul writes that Jesus became righteousness for us – Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, as well as righteousness.

Rather than focus on a list of Do’s and Don’ts, however, let us hunger and thirst to be with and like Christ. Being insulted, persecuted, lied about, because of belief in Jesus is because we aspire to live Christ-like, Spirit-led lives.

by Fr. Thomas O'Brien aa


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