Homily for Monday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time Year A
Theme: THE BEATITUDES…… “Fortunate are those who are poor in spirit”
By: Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP
Homily for Monday, June 10 2019
This is Christ’s manifesto, telling us what members of the Kingdom of heaven should be like. Above all, it tells us what Jesus Himself was like. For Matthew the location of the Mount is important. He sees Jesus as fulfilling the role of a second Moses. Just as Moses had proclaimed from Mount Sinai the Law which would define the relationship between God and His people, so, now Jesus proclaims from the Mount of the Beatitudes a new relationship between God and His people. Jesus would claim to speak with divine authority in interpreting God’s will. He would teach that not only our actions, but also our attitudes and desires must be correct.
As we shall see, Jesus turned His own peoples’ and our own secular values upside down. This is very true of the Beatitudes. The eight Beatitudes tell us different ways in which unlikely people are blessed by God. The word “Happy” sounds too shallow, too weak, and doesn’t do justice to Jesus’ teaching. Far better to use “blessed” by God.
The first four beatitudes concern those who are in different ways poor. Not that poverty is in itself a blessing; it can in fact be a curse, causing great hardship and misery. Working for social justice, providing for the needy is an important part of the life of the Church and every civilised community. But there is a danger with wealth, in that the rich can become self- satisfied and self- sufficient. They can feel that material success can satisfy all their needs. They can think they can manage very well without God. Only insecurity will shake their complacency. Whatever hardships the poor may suffer they won’t have that problem!Instead, in their need they are more likely to turn to God, knowing that He has a special concern for them. In that they are really blessed. So too were those who mourned. This applies both to us as we repent for our sins and confidently seek God’s forgiveness, and also to us as we mourn the death of our loved ones. We are blessed in the comforting hope of the resurrection.
As for the meek inheriting the land, they are not weaklings, but people who serve rather than use others.They are unselfish givers, not self-centred grabbers.Such as these will inherit the kingdom and for that reason will be the most blessed of all.Above all, they are blessed because God has a special love and concern for them.In fact, Jesus identifies with them in their need, and became one with them as He emptied Himself on the cross. If the first four beatitude are about the poor, and needy, the last four concern those who defend their rights. Again, these first describe Christ's work and mission, which He expects us, His followers, to imitate. Like Him, we must show mercy and compassion to those in need of forgiveness. Thats a condition of our being forgiven. Like Jesus, we must work to bring about God’s justice or righteousness. To achieve this we will need to be single-minded or pure in heart. In all this we will be God’s true sons and daughters, sharing in the work of the Son of God, Who lived and died to bring His peace to a world, torn apart by sin. With Jesus we are to be ministers and ambassadors of reconciliation, making peace between God and man, through our repentance and His forgiveness.
Jesus warns us of opposition if we follow His way of life. But if we stand by Him He will welcome us into His Kingdom. That blessing is the best reason for rejoicing!
Fr. Isidore Clarke, OP