Sunday morning and it is snowing again. The quiet beauty outside my kitchen window is relaxing to me.
I have been up all night with a very sick wife. She either has a bad case of the flu, or food poisoning. She is now dehydrated, dizzy, and muscles are hurting, but is refusing to go to ER for fluid replacement. For being an ER nurse, she can be stubborn and a ‘royal’ pain at times. PS. – I love my wife so much: Happy Valentines Day Honey Buns.
Today, we are talking about the different versions of the “Beatitudes.”
Quote or Joke of the Day:
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. — Angela Schwindt
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. (NAB Lk 6:20-25)
I always thought the “Beatitudes” were the same in all the Gospels. Surprisingly, they are not! The end goals are the same: finding Jesus, and finding the way to Jesus in heaven and eternity. Matthew has a conceptual approach to changing our attitudes towards others; and Luke, being a physician and analytical, was direct and realistic in his approach. I am more attracted to Luke’s shorter and “you need to do this” approach to the Beatitudes. In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus is teaching on the plains: intermingled with His people. In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus is above all around Him, on a mountain. Jesus probably preached the Beatitudes many, many times during His ministry on earth. Can you picture Jesus standing on a soapbox, on the corner of a busy intersection in Jerusalem, as well as in the Temple?
Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain” is the counterpart to Matthew’s “Sermon on the Mount” found at Mt 5:1-7:27. It is addressed to the disciples of Jesus, and, like the sermon in Matthew, it begins with beatitudes and ends with the parable of the two houses, later in Lk 6:46-49. Almost all the words of Jesus reported by Luke are found in Matthew’s version, but Matthew includes sayings that were related to specifically Jewish Christian problems, and Luke’s audience was predominantly Gentile Christians.
The introductory part of the Luke’s sermon consists of blessings and woes that address the paradoxes of the economic and social conditions of humanity (the poor–the rich; the hungry–the satisfied; those grieving–those laughing; the outcast–the socially acceptable). In Matthew, the “Beatitudes” emphasized the religious and spiritual values taught by Jesus (“poor in spirit,” Matthew 5:5; “hunger and thirst for righteousness,” Matthew 5:6).
In Luke’s sermon, “blessed” extols the condition of persons who are blessed by God. The “woes” threaten God’s displeasure on individuals blinded by their situations that they do not recognize, and appreciate the real values of God’s kingdom. In all the blessings and woes, the present situation or condition of the person, will be reversed in the future.
The path to follow in order to get to Christ should not have the goal of being a Fortune 500 company, or to be known to all the world as a celebrity. We need to remember to seek God on our individual paths, and to ask for His help and guidance constantly.
“Lord, help me to understand, and believe, the Beatitudes of Matthew’s and Luke’s Gospel, and what they teach us. Please help me to choose the path leading to you. Amen”
Pax et Bonum
Dan Halley, SFO
Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) Rule #14:
Secular Franciscans, together with all people of good will, are called to build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively. Mindful that anyone “who follows Christ, the perfect man, becomes more of a man himself,” let them exercise their responsibilities competently in the Christian spirit of service.