The 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Luke 6:17, 20-26
“The Holy Scriptures were not given to us that we should enclose them in books, but that we should engrave them upon our hearts.” -Saint John Chrysostom
From Bishop Robert Barron: Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus goes up a mountain and sits down to teach. In the Old Testament, we find Moses, the great teacher, also going up a mountain to receive the Law, and then sitting down to teach it. However, Jesus is not receiving a law; he is giving one.
Theologian N.T. Wright has pointed out that the Old Testament is essentially an unfinished symphony. It is the articulation of a hope but without a realization of that hope. Thus, as the fulfillment of Israel’s entire story, Jesus begins his primary teaching with the Beatitudes, a title that stems from the Latin noun beātitūdō, meaning “happy” or “blessed.” 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.
The Secret of the Beatitudes by Pope Benedict XVI: The secret subject of the Sermon on the Mount is Jesus. It is only on the basis of this subject that we can discover the entire meaning of this key text of Christian faith and life. The Sermon on the Mount is not some exaggerated and unreal moral lecture that loses any definite relationship to our life and seems completely impractical. Nor is it, as the opposite hypothesis would have, merely a mirror in which it becomes clear that everyone is and remains a sinner in everything and can only reach salvation through unconditional grace. This contrast between moralism and the theory of pure grace, with a complete antithesis between law and Gospel, does not help one to enter into the text but rather to repel it from one.
Christ is the middle, the mean, that unites the two, and it is only discovering Christ in the text that opens it up for us and enables it to become a word of hope…. If we get to the bottom of the Beatitudes, the secret subject, Jesus, appears everywhere. He it is in whom it becomes clear what it means to be poor in spirit: it is he who mourns, who is meek, who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, who is the merciful. He is pure in heart, he is the peacemaker, he is persecuted for righteousness’ sake. All the sayings of the Sermon on the Mount are flesh and blood in him. In this way we can finally discern…its actual definite instructions for us: the Sermon on the Mount is a summons to follow Jesus Christ in discipleship.