10th Week in Ord. Time, Monday – 8th June 2020 — Gospel: Mt 5,1-12
You are blessed
Teaching of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ first public act in the Gospel of Matthew. Through this teaching the evangelist wishes to reveal who is Jesus for Matthew? He is the teacher of all righteousness (5,20). He does teach here exclusively to his disciples (5,1-12). This means Jesus’ teaching is primarily important to become a disciple. In Matthew, being a disciple demands that our first act of discipleship is to recognize Jesus as teacher. Beatitudes are identifiers of discipleship; characteristics of the faithful; attributes of believers. They are truth-tellings. Through the Beatitudes, Jesus doesn’t teach his disciples that they are blessed; instead he wants them to ‘feel’ that they are blessed. Beatitudes are not just content or mere communicating words; rather they are intended to ‘create’ an experience. Therefore Jesus invites each of his disciples to experience that “You are blessed”. It reminds us of God’s promise to Abraham: “I will bless you … and you will be a blessing” (Gen 12,2). God’s blessing to Abraham is just the first step in a much bigger plan to extend that blessing to all the peoples of the earth. In the same way, Blessedness is the first step for the disciples to open up the kingdom of God to those who are righteous. Note that being blessed is not just for the sake of potential joy, but for making up those moments that will be difficult. While the Beatitudes name our blessings, it also unfolds what is at stake in those blessings. That is why this sermon has to be preached first to the disciples, here and now and not later.