Matthew 4:12-23 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time January 22, 2023 Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” At once they left their nets and followed him.
January 21, 2023
Matthew 5:13-16 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time February 5, 2023 You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot
February 4, 2023

Matthew 5:1-12 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time January 29, 2023 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

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Zephaniah 2:3, 3:12-13
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Matthew 5:1-12

A. Text/Context
• One of the most beautiful sermons that Jesus gave is the Sermon of the Mount or the Beatitudes. Literal meaning – blessedness or happiness
• Why is it that the Beatitudes is a beautiful sermon? Or how does the Beatitudes become the way to blessedness or happiness?
• Is it a blessing to be poor or hungry? When you have nothing to eat and you feel the pangs of hunger and starvation because of an empty stomach?
• Is it a blessing to be persecuted and the wheels of justice are never on your side?
• Is it a blessing to be insulted or shamed and humiliated because you cannot fight back against the influential and powerful people?
• If we will not analyze carefully, the meaning of the sermon can be very misleading
• Because poverty, hunger, suffering, persecution is not really a blessing
• This is the irony of the Beatitudes. Being poor and hungry would be a curse instead of a blessing
• Of course in real life hunger and poverty is really a curse not a blessing. The blessedness of poverty or hunger comes afterwards
• The beatitudes is a proclamation of happiness for the future for all those who suffer in poverty, who have nothing to eat, who are persecuted that the sufferings today will not last forever
• The Beatitudes is a message of hope that God is making a guarantee that if we suffer today we will be happy later on because God gives priority to the poor because they possess very little in this world
• Those who are deprived today are the ones given priority by the Lord. That is the content of the 1st reading in the Prophet Zephaniah a people humble and lowly
• And in the 2nd reading God chose the foolish and the weak to shame the strong and powerful
• We must be cautious in understanding the Beatitudes. God does not want us to suffer, to be hungry, to be poor or to be persecuted. God wants us all to be happy
• The meaning of the blessedness here is the hope of a reward to inherit heaven. Both the materially poor and the spiritually poor will all inherit heaven
• We have two kinds of poverty here the materially poor and the spiritually poor
• The materially poor are those people who have very little material possessions because they cannot afford them
• The spiritually poor or the poor in Spirit (blessed are the poor in spirit) this is what the gospel of Matthew is talking about today
• These are people who are poor in spirit because they only rely on the providence and goodness of God
• The people who are poor in spirit can be the materially rich people who have everything in life like the millionaires who rely on God’s goodness
• And they can also be the poorest people like the beggars and the destitute who also rely on the providence and goodness of God

B. Human Situation
• In the gospel of Luke there is also a similar sermon about the beatitudes. It says: Blessed are you who are poor for the kingdom of God is yours. In Matthew today it says: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the KOG. There is a difference in the two.
• There are a lot of people whose attitude is so bad. There are so many poor people like that; and there are others also, even if they are very poor, they are so noble and dignified
• The same thing with the rich people. Rich people who are so good and generous and rich people who are so manipulative
• The poor in spirit is a spiritual value and it knows no boundaries because God touches the hearts of people who are both rich or poor
• The blessedness here in the beatitudes according to St. Matthew are really those people who rely on God’s divine providence be they rich or poor
• Jesus only gives prominence for the poor just to alleviate a little of their sufferings by giving a promise of comfort in the future because the rich people have something to rely upon compared to the poor
• It is really very dangerous to say that poverty is a blessing because in poverty there is always suffering. God never wanted us to suffer
• Our vocation in this world is to be happy because the God that we have is a God of love and happiness
• The cause of our suffering is because the others exploit another and we are not so willing to offer charity to all those who need it most

C. Challenge
• The challenge that the gospel brings us today is really to play our role to give comfort to those who are suffering even just a little just to alleviate their plight according to how we can afford it
• In that manner we already fulfill our social obligations to help the poor
• The sermon of the mount or the beatitudes was given by Jesus to comfort the Jewish people suffering from the pains of poverty, from persecution under the Romans during his time
• Many people are poor because of the heavy taxation by Rome to finance their military conquests
• The same thing is asked of us. And don’t ever think that because we are poor we cannot do anything
• Even just to listen to a friend pouring out his or her heartaches and problems to you is already a big help
• We are not super heroes here in this world to be able to solve all the problems of other people
• God does not require us to do that. What is important is that we show compassion and that is already a kind of charity that we offer to alleviate the sufferings of others
• In other words, the sufferings of others will be mitigated when they are aware that there are still people who care for them

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Matthew 5 verse 1-12

Matthew 5 verse 1-12

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