We’ve all heard the expression, “History repeats itself.” Time and time again, the people and their leaders fell away from the ideals of God’s covenant with humanity. Selfishness or arrogance, fear or hate, sin or evil lead people to turn toward self-preservation or self-aggrandizement. It happened in Zephaniah’s day under Assyrian influence. It happened in Jesus’ day under Roman influence. It can happen in our world today. The Beatitudes can turn us back to living right. Poverty of spirit and meekness, righteousness and mercy, peacemaking and purity of heart can do this by shifting the focus away from ourselves and onto others. Empathy teaches us to show mercy, to make peace, to work for justice, to be humble.
This lesson had to be important. Jesus had just called his disciples and traveled with them around Galilee, healing the sick and proclaiming the gospel as we heard last Sunday. Soon he was drawing huge crowds, people eager to hear the words of the prophets come alive in their presence. But now he elevates his message-literally- for he ascends a mountain symbolizing his authority and his closeness to God. He will go on to teach dozens of lessons that we will hear over the next few Sundays. He begins today with the Sermon on the Mount teaching the people and us how to live.
Love, Peace, Joy,
Friday, February 3, is the feast of St. Blaise. He is the patron of healing of diseases and illnesses of the throat.