10th Week in the Ordinary Time
1st Reading: 1K 17:1-6
Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab: “As the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, during these years there shall be no dew or rain except at my word.” The Lord then said to Elijah: “Leave here, go east and hide in the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the stream, and I have commanded ravens to feed you there.” So he left and did as the Lord had commanded. He went and remained by the Wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan. Ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the stream.
Gospel: Mt 5:1-12
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, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
BLESSED ARE YOU: The Greek word for ‘blessed’ is ‘makarios’, which is the opposite of ‘hamartia’ which itself means, ‘sin’, that is, missing the target! The Hebrew word that would have been ringing in the ears of Jesus’ listeners of the Sermon on the Mount would have been, ‘ashrei.’ What does that mean? It is a feeling of inner gratification that one experiences when they are on the right direction in their life, and the right direction is determined by the right relationship with God. That way, it is still the opposite of hamartia. In the Beatitudes, Jesus proposes a new direction for his followers. A new programme of life that is different from that of the world. For sure, the new direction is going to give them a sense of gratification, as the Sermon on the Mount will expound.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your blessed assurance. Help me be on the way.
WAY TO HAPPINESS: Beatitude is defined as “a state of utmost bliss”. When Jesus says “Blessed are you,” it means the way to real joy. This is a call to life Christian perfection. For example, call to purity of heart, call to be poor in spirit, to fight for righteousness and peace, to be merciful, to withstand insults and persecutions for the sake of Christ, to endure injury with patience and without resentment (meekness) are Christian ways of perfection. The beatitudes are the ways of encountering God. As Christians we are called to live the beatitudes in our daily situations of life.
SHY AWAY FROM JEALOUSY: Once a traveler was hurt by a stone that was lying across the path. He rolled it away leaving it under a nearby tree. A painter who at work, saw the stone and decided to lay his wet brush on it. The paint spilled on the stone giving it mysterious looks. A travelling flower seller, on her way, saw the stone and decided to rest on it. While relaxing, she continued making her gallant, then left the stone with petals of flower. When people saw the painted stone adorned with flowers, they took it for an idol and began to worship it. The tree grew jealous of the stone and threw it far away. When the people found the stone missing they thought that the God had left the tree. Thinking that the tree had turned unholy, they cut down the tree. What made the tree “unholy”? Jealousy brings unholiness. Peter was jealous of John for being loved by Jesus. Jesus reprimanded the jealousy of Peter. Peter learned his lesson. He says in the first reading that the way to share holiness is not in jealousy. The means to eternal life is faith, virtue, knowledge, self-control, endurance, devotion, mutual affection and love. Let us make effort to remove jealousy and to practice mutual love.