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The Sermon on the Mount: Last Sunday's Sermon

The Gospel

Matthew 5:1-12

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

The Sermon


What I have just read to you is known as Jesus' sermon on the mount. It is the longest of his sermons that we have recorded and it takes about a minute to read it orally. Volumes have been written about the sermon and people, being what they are, have argued over it's meaning.

People especially differ on the first phrase, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” It has always been a confusing statement. Wouldn't you want to be rich in spirit? Isn't it better to have a lot of spirit rather than very little?

One explanation is that in the first century the term “blessed” was synonymous with wealthy and Jesus had chosen this statement for its shock value. In other words if you are wealthy, you lack a spiritual nature.

I prefer to believe Jesus was saying that a person who empties himself or herself allows the Holy Spirit to fill him or her with the spirit of God.

When you look at all that is said in this very concise sermon, you see that Jesus is giving us a simple outline of how we should act as Christians. This simple outline is also known as the beatitudes. In sixty seconds Jesus tells us what he expects of us.

He tells us to open ourselves to God. If we mourn, he tells us we will be comforted. He tells us we should be humble, thirst for God, be merciful, think pure thoughts, strive for peace, and most of all we should be willing to suffer the abuse of those who persecute us for our Christian faith.

May God's Peace be with you.
Fr. Fred

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