Homily for the fourth Sunday in the year

Year A  -  Mt. 5:1-12


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.  And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:  «Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.  Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.  Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.  Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.  Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.»"



Homily:


"Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him.  And he opened his mouth and taught them . . ."

Jesus continues his mission, he announces the Good News of the Kingdom to come!  He went up on a hill, a small mountain, and he sat down.  Then his disciples approach him.  Yes!  They go to Jesus, the Master of the Universe, for they are drawn to his omnipotence!  Already these words of the Savior are being fulfilled:  "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." (John 12:32)  Is Jesus not teaching his disciples within this context, that of his Passion?  He will end his speech in the following manner:  "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account."

The disciples go to Jesus:  they go to him because the Father who is in Jesus draws them to his Son.  Jesus said so when he spoke about the bread of Life:  "All that the Father gives me will come to me . . .  No one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." (John 6:37 and 65)  It is the Father who draws the disciples to Jesus, for it is the Father who renders the disciples of his Son blessed!  Thus, after the Father had spoken to Peter, in Caesarea, Jesus said to his disciple Simon:  "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven." (Mt. 16:17)

Peter is blessed, for the Father spoke to him interiorly!  In Jesus, it is also the Father who speaks:  "The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his works." (John 14:10)  Now, Saint Matthew, making use of a Semitic idiom, insists:  "He opened his mouth and taught them."  It is absolutely useless to say that Jesus opened his mouth:  if he wants to give an oral teaching, one would expect him to open his mouth in order to speak!  If Saint Matthew writes in this way, under the action of the Holy Spirit, it is to highlight the divine person of Jesus:  he is the Son of God, the Word of the Father!

"«Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.»"

Mercy!  Mercy!  God speaks to us of mercy!  He tells us that it is necessary to be merciful to our neighbor if we want to receive the mercy of God for ourselves.  But what does one hear today?  I don't hear "mercy" . . .  No, alas, I don't hear "mercy" . . .  Alas . . .  What I do hear is "justice, justice"!!!  The world shouts "justice" for those who are guilty of corruption or of immoral and immodest deeds!  But who are those who shout "justice"?  Who are they?  Are they themselves righteous?  Don't they need "mercy" for themselves?  Don't they need to hear what Jesus said to those who wanted to throw stones at the adulterous woman:  "Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7) ?

"«Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.»"

Behold the greatest of the beatitudes!  It is the beatitude of the martyrs!  It is the beatitude of those who followed Christ until the end!  It is the beatitude of those who didn't shout "justice," as today's world does!  They allowed themselves to be insulted because they cried out for only one thing: "Mercy"!  They entrusted to God the care of rendering them justice, if not in this world, then at least in eternal life.  For justice, the true justice of God, will come . . .  It will come with the Son of God who will subdue all things in order to offer to his Father a Kingdom of Peace and Glory!  "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven."

We will soon be participating in the eucharistic Sacrifice.  Let us ask God to be merciful to the whole world!  Let us ask for this first on our own behalf, and then let us pray for all those whom we know and love.  May the Most Holy Virgin Mary come to our aid: may her prayer be united to ours in order that we may put into practice what Jesus taught us!  May we, through Mary, love one another!  May Jesus the Bread of Life, through Mary, be our unity for all eternity!