Day 259: The sermon on the mount
Matthew 5:1 On the mountain: The Sermon on the Mount, which begins here and continues through Chapter 7, is the proclamation of salvation, beginning with the Beatitudes (“states of utmost blessing or happiness”), which are at the center of the good news. The Word of God was announced on Mt. Sinai when God gave the Law to Moses; in the Sermon on the Mount, Christ proclaimed the New Law, which fulfills the Mosaic Law. The Beatitudes fulfilled God’s promises to Abraham and his Chosen People; it directed them to the “promised land” of the Kingdom of Heaven wherein the saved will experience complete happiness, grace, beauty, and peace. The Beatitudes are at heart a portrait of the countenance of Jesus Christ. They also express each person’s vocation in the actions and dispositions characteristic of one who lives a Christian life. (CCC 581, 764, 1716-1729, 2763-2764)
Ch 5:3 The kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit, who receive the Word of God with humility-the poor and lowly-with whom Christ identifies. St. Gregory of Nyssa (d. 394) equated poverty in spirit with humility. This phrase was applied to those Israelites, who, living righteously, sought the Kingdom of God amid their many trials and tribulations. Though the Beatitudes point to eternal happiness, those who live them will find happiness amid suffering on earth as well because they know they are on the path to eternity and, comforted by that knowledge, can offer up their suffering to God. (CCC 544, 1716, 2546)
Ch 5:4 Those who mourn include those who suffer out of love for others afflicted by the reality of sin and its consequent alienation from God. (CCC 1716)
Ch 5:5 The meek are those who seek to imitate Christ (cf. Mt 11:29; 21:5) by showing kindness and gentleness toward their neighbors. (CCC 716, 1716)
Ch 5:6 Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are those who have a sense of urgency both to live the Gospel and to spread it to others. (CCC 1716)
Ch 5:7 The merciful are compassionate with respect to the suffering, defects, and needs of others. They assist the suffering and are always ready to overlook and forgive faults and offenses. (CCC 1716, 2447)
Ch 5:8 The pure in heart have purity of intention to align their wills and minds with God’s. They give special emphasis to chastity as a liberating virtue that leads to contemplative prayer and charity.
They shall see God: this is a reference to Heaven, where the saved behold God face-to-face in the Beatific Vision. (CCC 1720, 1722, 1967, 2518, 2639)
Ch 5:9 Peacemakers not only seek their own reconciliation with God and neighbor but also seek to help others reconcile and instill peace in all relationships. (CCC 2305, 2330)
Ch 5:10 The persecuted are true disciples who persevere steadily in the faith and suffer for their faithfulness to Christ. (CCC 886, 1716, 1967)
Ch 5:11-12 Christ is the example of perfection, and the invitation to follow him involves not only prayer and humility but also a willingness to accept self-sacrifice, hardship, and persecution because of it. (CCC 520)
Ch 5:13-16 Salt of the earth...light of the world: These elements describe the divine mission. Salt gives savor to food and preserves it from corruption. The role of a Christian in the world is to bring out the best in others by leading them to Christ. Through their personal witness, the faithful become the light of the world, enabling others to see the way from the darkness of sin to the splendor of Heaven. The candle lit at Baptism reminds the new Christian, having been enlightened by Christ, to be the light of the world. (CCC 1243, 2044, 2821)
Ch 5:17-19 Not to abolish...but to fulfil: Christ did not abolish the Law but elevated and fulfilled it. He perfected the Law by obtaining the grace to imbue every action with his very love.
You have heard it said...but I say to you: Christ repeated these or similar words to explain the full requirement of the Law. (CCC 577, 592, 1967, 1968, 2053)
Ch 5:20 The scribes and Pharisees kept the letter of the Law but not its spirit; both are necessary for salvation. (CCC 2054)
Ch 5:21-22 While the Fifth Commandment forbids murder, Christ’s commandment forbids hatred, anger, and any form of violence. (CCC 678, 2262-2265, 2302-2303)
Ch 5:22 The Sanhedrin was the highest judicial body in Israel. The hell of fire (“Gehanna” in Aramaic) is derived from the Hebrew meaning “Valley of Hinnom,” a pit near Jerusalem where rubbish was constantly burned. It was used figuratively to describe a place of punishment where the dead would suffer for their sins. (CCC 1036)
Ch 5:23-24 Before one can be reconciled with God, he or she must be reconciled with neighbors. The Lord’s Prayer-the Our Father-can be prayed truthfully only if reconciliation with neighbor is sought. The Sacrament of Penance is the ordinary, sacramental means of reconciliation with God and neighbor. (CCC 1388-1390, 1424, 2608, 2792, 2841-2845)
Ch 5:27-28 Adultery is any sexual act of a married man or woman with a person who is not his or her spouse. Tradition teaches the Sixth Commandment encompasses all sins against sexual morality, including fornication, homosexual acts, masturbation, and other sins against purity. Adultery of the heart-the desire for illicit sexual activity-is also gravely sinful. Hosea and Jeremiah compared idolatry to adultery (cf. Jer 5:7; 13:27). (CCC 1456, 2336, 2380-2381, 2523-2533)
Ch 5:29-30 Pluck it out and throw it away: This exhortation urges the Christian to reject aggressively anything that separates us from God. Christians are to employ rigorous means to combat temptation, especially temptations against chastity. Christ’s example is a warning: Everyone should guard the senses against anything that may become an occasion of sin. (CCC 226, 1034)
Ch 5:31-32 God created marriage to be an indissoluble union between one man and one woman. By instituting the Sacrament of marriage and repealing the exception that permitted divorce under the Law of Moses, Christ elevated marriage to the state originally intended by God.
Unchastity: Some scholars argue that this refers to marital infidelity. Others argue that it refers to unlawful marriages such as between close relatives or the marriage between a Jew and a Gentile, both of which violated the Law (cf. Lv 18:7-13). In either case, a marriage between a baptized man and woman, once ratified and consummated, cannot be dissolved except by death. (CCC 2380-2382)
Ch 5:33-37 Every oath invokes God as a witness; therefore, it is a serious sin to make an oath that intentionally contradicts the truth. Christ calls his followers to love and defend the truth unconditionally. (CCC 2150-2153, 2466)
Ch 5:42 Christ associates helping the poor with directly loving him. Service to those in need will be the subject of the final judgment (cf. Mt 25:31-36). (CCC 1039, 2443)
Ch 5:43-45 To follow Christ requires loving as he loves, forgiving those who cause hurt or wrong us in any way. Christ died out of love for every individual, even while they were still sinners and enemies (cf. Rom 5:10). Christians must forgive one another as a condition of being reconciled with God; forgiveness configures a person to Christ, who loves us unconditionally and bears witness that love is stronger than sin. The true freedom expressed in the Gospel cannot be experienced while enslaved to resentment and hatred for others.
He makes the sun rise...unjust: We can depend upon the providence of God our Father for all our needs. (CCC 1825, 1933, 2608, 2828-2829, 2844)
Ch 5:46-48 Christ invites everyone to the perfection of charity. “All Christians in any state or walk of life are called to the fullness of Christian life and to the perfection of charity” (Lumen Gentium 40 S 2). The means to this charity or love consist in living Christ’s commandments, including his words, counsels, and actions. (CCC 1693, 1968, 2013, 2842)
Ch 6:1-13 Christ often spoke of fasting, prayer, and almsgiving as commendable religious practices; however, he taught each of these visible acts can become hypocritical if not performed out of love of God in a spirit of interior penance and conversion. (CCC 1430, 1434, 1968-1969)
Ch 6:2 They may be praised by men: Good acts should be directed to God “who sees in secret” (Mt 6:4) and not done for the sake of impressing others. The act must be good in itself and performed with the right intention and in the proper circumstances. When performed for the wrong reason, such as seeking praise, a good act loses its merit. (CCC 1752-1755, 2447)
Ch 6:6 Every Christian is called to foster a life of personal prayer. The church is the appropriate place for the community to gather for liturgical prayer and worship, especially in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament. Both personal prayer and communal worship are needed to grow in communion with God. (CCC 1693, 2608, 2655, 2691)
Ch 6:7 Heap up empty phrases: The simplest prayer is to invoke the name of Jesus. To repeat his name or any vocal prayer with a pure and humble heart is not heaping empty phrases. However, the repetition of words without attention and loving devotion is of little value. (CCC 2607-2608, 2668, 2776)
Ch 6:8 Though God the Father already knows everyone’s needs, he desires to be approached in prayer, since he wants us, his children, to turn to him as the source of all good. Prayer is our personal response to God. (CCC 443, 2736)
Ch 6:9-13 The Lord’s Prayer is the prayer of the New Law, and Matthew’s version is used in liturgical worship. It is “a summary of the whole Gospel” (Origen, De orat., 1). It expresses what we ought to desire and what we ought to avoid. The Lord’s Prayer is recited at Mass, in the Liturgy of the Hours, in the Rosary, and in many other liturgical and devotional rites. (CCC 1969, 2621, 2759-2802, 2857-2865)
Ch 6:9 Our Father who art in heaven: Christ taught his disciples to address God as “Our Father.” Later, he distinguished his unique Sonship with the Father from our own filiation by referring to God as “your Father” and “my Father.” Divine filiation, which is derived from our incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ in Baptism, makes us adopted children of God. Spoken in the plural, the Lord’s Prayer is properly a prayer of the Church.
Hallowed be thy name: God is the source of all that is good, and we ask that his name be recognized and treated as holy. The Second Commandment teaches us to treat his name with utmost respect and reverence. (CCC 268, 443, 2783-2784, 2803-2815)
Ch 6:10 Thy kingdom come: Our desire should be for both the establishment and extension of God’s kingdom on earth. This kingdom, a kingdom of peace, joy, truth, and life, was made possible by Christ’s Incarnation, and it will be perfected at the end of time.
Thy will be done...in heaven: Christians should strive to align their wills to the will of Christ, who carried out the will of his Father perfectly. (CCC 2632, 2771, 2816-2827)
Ch 6:11 Give us this day our daily bread: In a material sense, Christ calls people to trust completely in the Father, who provides for all our needs. In a spiritual sense, we petition for the Bread of Life: Christ himself, who is presented daily in his Word and, in a unique, real, and total way, in the Holy Eucharist. (CCC 1163-1165, 2659, 2828-2837)
Ch 6:12 Forgive us our...against us: Reconciliation with God requires us to first reconcile with our neighbor. We, who are heavily indebted to God, cannot receive the full measure of God’s forgiveness and mercy unless we show forgiveness and mercy to others. Christ further developed this petition in the Sermon on the Mount (cf. Mt 5:23-24; 6:14-15). (CCC 2792, 2838-2845)
Ch 6:13 Lead us not into temptation: This means, “Do not allow us to give in to temptation,” or, “Leave us not alone in temptation.”
Deliver us from evil: Evil refers both to the lure of sin and to Satan, the deceiver and prince of evil. Protection from the evil one includes protection from all evils so the People of God may persevere in faithful expectation of seeing God face to face in the Kingdom of Heaven. (CCC 2821, 2846-2854)
Ch 6:16-18 Like his teachings on almsgiving and prayer, Christ teaches his followers to fast not to receive praise from others but with the intention to give glory to God. Outward actions should flow from interior dispositions of love for God. (CCC 575, 1430, 2608)
Ch 6:21 Treasure: Christ is the treasure that fulfills the deepest longings of the human heart.
Heart: As used here, the heart indicates our deepest longings, and the righteous heart is the path to Christ. In order for our heart to be pure we must avoid improper attachments to material goods or persons as well as addictions. Therefore, the interior struggle involves putting into practice the entire Gospel message. Everything must be oriented toward a deep union with Christ and the Kingdom of God. (CCC 368, 2533, 2551-2553, 2729, 2848)
Ch 6:24 Mammon is Aramaic for riches. To place any created thing ahead of God is idolatry; this includes the false gods of material goods, earthly pleasures, and government. When the heart is not centered on God, communion with him is impossible. A disordered desire for mammon alienates us from God and, consequently, causes injustices in the social order. (CCC 2113, 2424, 2848)
Ch 6:25-32 Anxiety over earthly goods and comforts draws people away from God. Christ teaches his followers to rely on the divine providence of God the Father in the same way a child relies on his or her parents. While we should try our best in every endeavor, we should be free of our worry and anxiety since God is a loving Father who wants always what is best for us. (CCC 270, 305, 322, 247, 2830)
Ch 6:26 All creation bears witness to the glory of God and his providence. (CCC 32, 350, 355-359, 824, 2416)
Ch 6:33-34 Our greatest desire is to spread the kingdom of God, which will result in a just society wherein the value and dignity of the human person is paramount. (CCC 1942, 2604, 2608, 2632)
Ch 6:34 We trust the Father to provide for our needs this day and in the days to come. (CCC 2659, 2835-2836)
Ch 7:1-2 “God measures as we measure, and pardons as we pardon, and shows mercy as we show mercy” (St. Gregory the Great, Moralia, 29). This is included in the Lord’s Prayer: “Forgive us our trespasses, as forgive those who trespass against us.” Love of neighbor reflects our interior disposition to love God above all things. (CCC 678, 2477-2478)
Ch 7:3-5 Failure to see our own faults leads invariably to harsh and unfair judgment of others. (CCC 1861)
Ch 7:6 Holy things are to be treated with reverence and given only to those who can discern and appreciate their great value. For this reason, the early Christians dismissed those not yet baptized from Mass immediately following the Liturgy of the Word (cf. Didache, 9, 5). This practice is reflected in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults when catechumens leave the Mass for private instruction following the Liturgy of the Word. The reception of Holy Communion is reserved for Catholics who are in a state of grace, i.e., not aware of having committed any mortal sin. (CCC 1385, 2120, 2148)
Ch 7:11 We, sons and daughters of God, can pray in faith and confidence that the Father will answer our prayers. God knows what we need before we ask. If what we ask for is not received, we can trust that God will give us something more profitable for salvation. (CCC 2609, 2736)
Ch 7:12 Called the “golden rule,” this concept is part of the natural law and is a universal ethical standard. It is a natural consequence of the Two Great Commandments to love God and to love our neighbor (cf. Mt 5:17-48) and is a step toward the new commandment, “Love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:12). (CCC 1789, 1968, 1970, 2510, 2821)
Ch 7:13-14 The two gates represent the basic option to follow or reject Christ-to strive for heavenly glory or risk eternal condemnation. Every moral decision either contributes to or impedes salvation and holiness. (CCC 1036, 1696, 1970, 2609)
Ch 7:15-20 False prophets: People whose hypocrisy and erroneous teaching misled and caused confusion among the people. This applies equally to Christians who give scandal to teach contrary to the Faith. (CCC 2284-2287)
Ch 7:20 Know them by their fruits: Faith and grace produce good works, which give us evidence that we are blessed by God. Words are not enough to reveal the true state of the human heart; rather, faith expressed in the deeds of charity reflects the inner good of the person. Those who profess right beliefs but do not live out the Gospel message do not exhibit a true picture of Christ. While salvation comes solely from the grace of God, good works are a necessary cooperation with the gratuitous grace of faith. (CCC 2005)
Ch 7:21 The external act of crying out to God is not sufficient to gain eternal life; conversion of heart and the disposition to do the will of God are also necessary. Works must be a manifestation of faith, and Christian prayer must reflect a sincere submission and desire to fulfill the Father’s will. When our will is identified with his, the Kingdom of Heaven becomes established on earth and in ourselves. (CCC 1821, 2611, 2826)
Ch 7:24-27 Union with Christ and fidelity to his teachings is building on the rock that gives us strength and solidity in the face of adversity. (CCC 1970)
Ch 7:28-29 One who had authority: Christ did not simply propose an alternative argument to the scribes’ interpretation of the law; rather, his teachings are the ultimate authority in both the interpretation and perfection of the Mosaic Law. (CCC 581)
Proverbs 18:22 In reference to this verse, St. John Paul II pointed out that, while the wisdom literature often speaks of women in negative terms, it also “perceived in her a hidden treasure” and expresses “appreciation of the feminine figure, a precious gift of the Lord” (General Audience, April 10, 1996).
(* The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Key Event 57: Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:20-46)
Jesus gives the new law on a mountain, just as Moses gave the Old Law from Mount Sinai. Jesus calls his disciples to a new way of life based on the transformation of heart that marks the New Covenant (see Jer 31:31-34), achieved through the work of the Holy Spirit in us (see 2 Cor 3:3).
So we gotta do it
Proverbs 18:24, “There are friends who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
WHAT A GIFT!
IT IS TRUE!
How old were you when you first recognized that there are people who are FRIENDS FOR A SEASON
There are people who are only FAIR WEATHER FRIENDS and the moment trouble comes, they are on their way out the door
Or the moment they just get tired of us, they are on their way out the door
However old you were when you discovered that, it is one of those INVALUABLE LESSONS TO LEARN
Imagine going through life NOT KNOWING THAT
It is a PAINFUL LESSON to learn, obviously
BUT AT THE SAME TIME…
Flip it around and you realize WHAT AN INCREDIBLE GIFT IT IS!!
WHEN YOU DO FIND THAT FAITHFUL FRIEND THAT IS A STURDY SHELTER!!
A TRUE FRIEND COMES ALONG VERY INFREQUENTLY!!
SO INFREQUENTLY THAT WHEN YOU FIND ONE THE ONLY RESPONSE IS AWE
THE ONLY RESPONSE IS THANKSGIVING
THE ONLY RESPONSE IS, “GOSH LORD! PRAISE YOU AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT GIFT!”
So speaking of GIFTS
We have Matthew Chs 5-7, affectionately known as The Sermon on the Mount
IT IS INCREDIBLE!
It starts with THE BEATITUDES
The image is Jesus goes up the mountain and gives a NEW LAW, the FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW
THIS IS IMPORTANT!
What happened in the Old Testament?
YOU KNOW THIS!! (If not, go have a refresher by reading Day 38: The Ten Commandments in The Bible in a Year Study Guide 😁)
Moses went up the mountain and came down with the Law, the COMMANDMENTS OF GOD
So here is Jesus as the NEW MOSES who is going to give not only a NEW LAW
Jesus is also going to bring people to a NEW EXODUS, a NEW PLACE OF FREEDOM!!
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!!
SO DON’T MISS THAT PIECE!!
When Jesus goes up the mountain, he essentially gives people THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW
Jesus makes a very important point in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them.”
That is one of the reasons why as Catholic Christians we recognize that this was NOT meant to be a break between Judaism and Christianity
This is meant to be the FULFILLMENT of Judaism IN Christianity
The reason why we have spent 200+ days reading the Old Testament is because we recognize that THAT IS OUR HERITAGE!
We don’t come from a vacuum
We come from THE JEWISH PEOPLE in God’s COVENANT LOVE WITH THE JEWISH PEOPLE
CHRISTIANITY DOES NOT POP OUT OF NOWHERE
CHRISTIANITY IS THE FULFILLMENT OF EVERYTHING THAT EVERY JEWISH PEOPLE WHO WAS FAITHFUL TO THE LORD LONGED FOR
Jesus makes the point that he did not come to ABOLISH THE LAW but to FULFILL THE LAW
THAT IS SO CRITICAL!!
There are so many things we can point out about The Sermon on the Mount
One of those things is that Jesus says, “You have heard it said...but I say to you…”
About SWEARING OATHS
About LOVE FOR ENEMIES
ALL THESE PIECES!
One of the things that is UNDERNEATH ALL OF THEM is the fact that Jesus is not only saying, “Yes, those things are bad.”
Like don’t kill someone
Don’t commit adultery
Don’t get divorced and remarry
Don’t go for retaliation
Jesus is also saying, “I want to diagnose your heart. The problem is not just that you kill people. The problem is that you WANT TO KILL PEOPLE. That is an option for you. The problem is not just that you commit adultery. The problem is that you WANT TO COMMIT ADULTERY.”
So one of the things Jesus is DOING is that he is GETTING PAST THE ACTION and GETTING TO THE HEART
Of course, it’s NOT that the ACTION DOES NOT MATTER
Obviously, the action is STILL PROHIBITED
Jesus has ELEVATED this to be able to REVEAL something
The issue is NOT THE SIN ITSELF
The issue is THE BROKEN HEART THAT COMMITS THE SIN!! 🤯🤯🤯
We might know that already
If you know yourself, you ALREADY KNOW
YEAH THANKS A LOT, FATHER
THANKS A LOT, LORD JESUS
I KNEW THAT ALREADY!
One of the things Jesus is PROMISING, he is not just DIAGNOSING THE PROBLEM
HE IS OFFERING THE REMEDY
JESUS HIMSELF IS THE REMEDY!!
This is a DIAGNOSIS
Jesus is also able to say, “The problem that you are living through, the problem that you are experiencing, is not just that you commit adultery or that you get divorced. It’s that that is an OPTION FOR YOU BECAUSE OF YOUR BROKEN HEART. So let ME be the one who ENTERS INTO THAT BROKEN HEART. Let ME be the one who CHANGES YOUR HEART.”
So that we are NOT CONFORMED to the world around us where it is NORMAL to HATE THOSE WHO HATE YOU
WE ARE CONFORMED TO HIS HEART WHERE WE LIVE ABNORMALLY
WE LIVE IN A PLACE WHERE WE LOVE THOSE WHO HATE US
WE LIVE IN A PLACE WHERE WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO PERSECUTE US
WE LIVE IN A PLACE WHERE WE GIVE WHEN PEOPLE WANT TO TAKE FROM US
There is something SO POWERFUL about this!
We just need to allow the Lord to TRANSFORM NOT JUST OUR ACTIONS
We need to allow the Lord to TRANSFORM OUR HEARTS
One of the remarkable things about Matthew Ch 6 is the fact that Jesus makes a point where he talks about almsgiving, prayer, and fasting
Jesus says, “There are some people who give alms, and they pray, and they fast so that others may see them. And that is their motivation.”
KEEP THIS IN MIND
Jesus is NOT going to say, “Hey, don’t give alms. Don’t fast. Don’t pray.”
Jesus is saying, “Those people who are doing that so that others may see them, THAT IS THE WRONG THING. Because the opinion that should matter the most is the Father’s opinion. The fact that who sees this that matters the most should be the Father sees this.”
We know this because Jesus says, “WHEN YOU GIVE ALMS…”
“WHEN YOU FAST…”
“WHEN YOU PRAY…”
Jesus is NOT saying, “IF YOU…”
Jesus is saying, “WHEN YOU…”
As disciples of Jesus Christ, if we are not REGULARLY GIVING ALMS
As disciples of Jesus Christ, if we are not REGULARLY PRAYING
As disciples of Jesus Christ, if we are not REGULARLY FASTING
THEN WE ARE NOT DOING WHAT JESUS HAS TOLD US TO DO!!
Jesus did say, “WHEN YOU DO THIS....”
Which assumes that WE ARE DOING IT
But when we do it, who are we doing it for?
NOT TO BE SEEN
NOT TO BE PUTTING ON A SHOW
Now, even if people see it, that is ok
You don’t have to make it so that NO ONE EVER KNOWS OR SEES
That could be a SIN OF PRIDE!!
We have this thing called LENT
It goes from Ash Wednesday all the way to Easter
A lot of times, Fr. Mike asks his students, “Hey, what are you doing for Lent?”
Because during Lent, we have PRAYER, FASTING, and ALMSGIVING
So we are encouraged to choose one in every domain
THE DOMAIN OF ALMSGIVING
THE DOMAIN OF PRAYER
THE DOMAIN OF FASTING
So what are you doing for Lent in those domains?
Sometimes you will find people who will say, “Oh I don’t want to say. I don’t want to be too proud.”
Fr. Mike then says, “Well, you know you are not doing it FOR other people. I am clearly ASKING YOU what you are doing.”
So Jesus convicts people over doing it SO THAT OTHER PEOPLE CAN SEE THEM and NOT BECAUSE THEY LOVE GOD
If you ever read the stories of the saints and say something like “Ok for Lent, I am going to give up bread.”
“For Lent, I’m going to give up beer.”
“For Lent, I’m going to give up sweets.”
THAT IS REALLY GREAT IF THAT IS WHERE YOU ARE AT!!
When we read the stories of the saints, we realize THAT IS NOT REALLY ANYTHING TO BE PROUD OF!!
THAT IS NOT ANYTHING TO BRAG ABOUT!!
Oh really, you’re giving up something that the rest of the world doesn’t even know exists…
Not that the rest of the world doesn’t know that bread or beer exists…
Sometimes, it is more HUMBLING to acknowledge and admit what we are DOING FOR LENT than it is BRAGGING
WE HAVE TO DO THAT!!
Jesus says, “WHEN YOU GIVE ALMS…”
Jesus says, “WHEN YOU PRAY…”
Jesus says, “WHEN YOU FAST…”
Fr. Mike says “LAST THING” because he WANTS TO KEEP GOING
WE WANT HIM TO KEEP GOING, DON’T WE??
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT IS REMARKABLE!!
But let’s highlight this...
Jesus is reminding us to GO PAST THE SURFACE and GET TO THE HEART OF THINGS
Jesus is also reminding us, “REMEMBER who it is you are talking to when you are praying. REMEMBER that HE IS YOUR FATHER. When you pray, don’t babble like the pagans or like the Gentiles, who think that because of their many words they will be heard.”
The reason why they thought they could be heard was because if they said the right incantation, they could get the attention of the god or goddess
But Jesus says, “But you have a Dad. You have a Dad in Heaven. What happens is if you just call upon his name, you realize that HE IS ALREADY ATTENTIVE TO YOU!”
“If you call upon his name, you realize HE IS ALREADY LOOKING AT YOU!”
“If you call upon his name, you don’t have to FIGHT FOR HIS ATTENTION!”
“YOU ALREADY HAVE HIS ATTENTION!”
One of the things that Jesus reveals is that the Father is CONSTANTLY FIGHTING FOR OUR ATTENTION!!
And so when we give our attention to the Father in prayer, it is an ACT OF LOVE!!
We just have to turn to our Father and say, “Abba! Dad!”
Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’”
“Because you may have done many incredible things, but did you do MY FATHER’S WILL?”
THIS IS THE SECRET TO HOLINESS!
If it comes down to ANYTHING, the SECRET OF HOLINESS IS DOING WHAT THE FATHER HAS ASKED
So if I’m doing MY OWN WILL ALL THE TIME, then Jesus can essentially say to me, “I don’t even know who you are, because you don’t even know who I am, because you don’t do MY WILL.”
If we were just to say, “Ok God, as my weak heart and my broken heart and my weak self with your grace, I strive to simply do the Father’s will AT ALL TIMES.”
THAT IS WHAT HOLINESS IS!!
THAT IS WHAT IT IS TO KNOW JESUS!!
THAT IS WHAT IT IS TO BE KNOWN BY JESUS!!
Not simply to say, “Lord, Lord.”
BUT TO DO THE WILL OF MY HEAVENLY FATHER
That’s one of the reasons why we recognize that WE HAVE TO HAVE FAITH THAT IS WORKING!!
Our FORMULA for this is FAITH WORKING ITSELF OUT IN LOVE!!
FAITH HAS TO BE PUT INTO ACTION OR IT IS WORTHLESS!!
And so TODAY, THIS DAY say, “Ok, Father how can I live in your will? Father, today how can I do your will? Because I want to know you and know your will. And I want you to know me and know my heart.”
GOSH YOU GUYS!!
FR. MIKE IS PRAYING FOR YOU!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
WHAT A GIFT IT IS TO WALK THROUGH THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW TOGETHER!!
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise. Thank you so much. God, you’ve taught us to call you our Dad. You’ve taught us to call you our Father. And so this day we are renewed in that invitation, this command from you, that we rejoice to be able to fulfill. As we call upon your name, Father in Heaven, in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, we just give you praise and thank you so much. Thank you for the Gospel of Matthew. Thank you for Matthew himself. That is just remarkable that we get to hear his words, or YOUR words really, through his pen and in this moment right now, travelling to us over the space of 2,000 years, that are given to us by the power of the Holy Spirit working through the Church and bringing us to this moment. So we thank you, God, for all those people who have ever handed down the Bible, who have ever translated the Bible, who have ever transcribed the Bible, who have ever recorded the Bible, any of those people who have ever helped us to get to this point where right now your Word and our lives are able to intersect. Lord God, help us to allow your Word to transform our lives. And we make this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.”
Bonus Lesson for Today!!
Have you ever been a bit confused about what exactly The Beatitudes mean? Well, Bishop Robert Barron explains what the Beatitudes mean in simple terms…THEY ARE THE KEY TO JOY! And what’s another word for JOY? HAPPINESS!! Watch the video below and then you will be quite enlightened, methinks 🤔.
The Beatitudes: The Key to Joy (by Bishop Robert Barron)
Unpacking Jesus’ Greatest Sermon
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, recounted in Matthew 5-7, is perhaps the most famous sermon ever preached.
We read in the first verse that, “when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him.”
This is important.
We might pass over these minor actions, but through them, Jesus is symbolically establishing himself as the new Moses.
In the Old Testament, we find Moses, the great teacher, going up a mountain to receive the Law, and then coming down to teach it.
Similarly, Jesus goes up a mountain and sits down to teach.
However, Jesus is not receiving a law; he is giving one.
During his sermon, we hear, “You have heard that it was said...But I say…” which reveals that Jesus has authority even over the Torah, which Jews held, above all, as sacred.
To be clear, Jesus is not speaking as an anti-Moses, but as a new Moses.
The Law is not being abrogated; it is being intensified, raised to a new pitch.
The Old Testament Law was always meant to bring humanity in line with divinity.
In the beginning, this alignment was at a fairly basic level.
But now that the definitive Moses has appeared, the alignment is becoming absolute, radical, complete.
Jesus declares that he would not undermine the Law and the prophets but fulfill them.
Jesus himself was an observant Jew, and the themes and images of the Holy Scriptures were elemental for him.
But what is he going to fulfill?
Theologian N.T. Wright has pointed out that the Old Testament is essentially an unfinished symphony, a drama without a climax.
It is the articulation of a hope, a dream, a longing-but without a realization of that hope, without a satisfaction of that longing.
Israel knew itself to be the people with the definite mission to become holy and thereby to render the world holy.
But instead, Israel fell into greater and greater sins; and instead of being the catalyst for the conversion of the world, the world was continually overwhelming and enslaving Israel.
And then came Jesus, who turned out to be, in the most unexpected way, the fulfillment of the dream.
From the beginning of his ministry, Jesus affected the gathering of the tribes of Israel through conversion and the forgiveness of sins.
Thus, as the fulfillment of Israel’s entire story, he begins his primary teaching with the “Beatitudes” (Matt 5:3-11), a title that stems from the Latin noun beatitudeo, meaning “happiness” or “blessedness.”
Through this series of paradoxes, surprises and reversals, Jesus begins setting a topsy-turvy universe aright.
How should we understand them?
A key is the Greek word makarios, rendered “blessed” or “happy” or perhaps even “lucky,” which is used to start each of the Beatitudes.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
We might say, “How lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things.” Here Jesus is telling us how to realize our deepest desire, which is the desire for God, not for passing things that only bring temporary comfort.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
We might interpret it this way: “How lucky you are if you are not addicted to good feelings.” Doing the will of God sometimes involves the acceptance of enormous pain, but when you’re free from dependence on good feelings, you’re liberated for whatever life demands.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.”
One of the world’s greatest seductions is power. But what we ought to do is eschew worldly power, so that the power of the will of God might reign in us.
“Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be satisfied.”
We might interpret it this way: “How lucky you are if you hunger and thirst for doing the will of God.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
We might say, “How lucky you are if you are a bearer and vehicle of Divine Mercy to the world.” If you receive mercy, give it also to others.
“Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.”
We might say, “How lucky you are if your heart is not divided and only seeks God’s will.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called Children of God.”
We might say, “How lucky you are if you radiate peace to those around you.”
“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
In other words, “How lucky you are if you are not addicted to the approval of others.”
(Bishop Robert Barron, The Word on Fire Bible: The Gospels, 2020)