Good morning, happy Monday and many blessings.
Matthew 5: 1-12 contains a list of blessings known as the Beatitudes, each beginning with "blessings or sayings are." The English word "blessed" is a translation of the ancient Latin and Greek texts. In the Latin Vulgate, each of these blessings begins with the word beati, which is translated as "happy," "rich," or "blessed" corresponding to the original Greek makarioi, with the same meaning. There is always something lost in any translation, and I suspect that some of the original meaning of this word has been eroded due to what we have projected, our understanding of "blessing."
A "blessing," as used in the Beatitudes, Matthew 5: 1-12, is a prayer asking for God's favor and protection. It could also be something we receive for which we are grateful. Both aspects are certainly part of what happened when Jesus spoke the words of the Beatitudes that bless the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are meek, those who hunger and thirst for justice, those who are merciful, to those who are pure in heart, to peacemakers and to those who are persecuted for the sake of justice.
The Sermon on the Mount has been correctly understood as a starting point and a summary of the teachings of Jesus. It begins with the Beatitudes (Mt. 5: 3-12), in which Jesus outlines the categories of people he says enjoy special favor. However, there is another dynamic in these statements that is easily missed at first reading. It is revealed in the verse that immediately follows the Beatitudes, Matthew 5:12. Here we read: “rejoice and rejoice greatly; for great is your reward in heaven ... "This statement is worded a little differently in Luke's account, but essentially the same idea:" rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for behold, great hope awaits you! reward in heaven” (Luke 6:23). And so, we see that the Beatitudes are not simply a prayer asking for God's favor and protection for those who suffer.
This is the end point of the beautiful Beatitudes of Christ: that we can see the world and ourselves from a new perspective. The Beatitudes teach us to understand as the deepest level of our experience that the last ones will be the first and the first last. In other words, the Beatitudes are a guide for Christian people living in difficult times. They are a process of Christian maturity that solidifies our radical disciple.
It must be clear that the Beatitudes provide an urgent commentary designed to turn the political and social worlds of Caesar Augustus's Roman Empire and the Jewish religious elite of Judea and Jerusalem. This is the initial movement for a more drastic and fundamental reevaluation of political and social affairs, which applies not only to your own time but to all future times, to this day. Furthermore, it points to the increasing fulfillment in this world of the promise of the human condition as such, and of the struggle against vast and daunting, but not insurmountable obstacles that such fulfillment will require. Remember, in our radical discipleship of following Jesus we were not called to contemplate this world, but rather to change it.
Fr. Luis +