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Gospel for Monday, November 1: Luke 6: 17. 20-26/ Matthew 5: 1-12

All Saints Day

17Having descended with them, he stopped in a flat place. There was a large crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, from Jerusalem and from the coast of Tire and Sidon… 20Looking up at his disciples, Jesus said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who cry now, for you will laugh.22Blessed are you when men hate you and when they banish you and revile you and reject your name as wicked, because of the Son of man. 23Rejoice on that day and rejoice, for, behold, your reward is great in heaven. In fact, their fathers did the same thing with the prophets. 24But woe to you, rich people, because you already have your consolation. 25Woe to you who are now full, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will be afflicted and weep. 26Woe to you when all men speak well of you. For in the same way their fathers did with the false prophets”.

Luke 6: 17. 20-26

1Seeing the crowds, Jesus went up the mountain and, sitting down, his disciples approached him. 2Then taking the floor, he taught them, saying: 3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 5Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. 7Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 8Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. 10Blessed are those persecuted for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11Blessed are you when they insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and exult, for great is your reward in heaven. For thus they persecuted the prophets before you.”

Mt 5: 1-12

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (www.buonabibbiaatutti.it).

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

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Differences between the two texts

Luke’s version (6,17-26) better conveys the tone of the basic document to us. The words of Jesus are transmitted assimilated to the life of the first communities, to their problems. For Luke, the Sermon on the Mount is a proclamation of the Kingdom of God who came to save men; what Matthew (5.1-12) instead sees in the Sermon on the Mount is first and foremost a life program, a moral teaching for the Church. If in Luke the beatitudes are words of consolation for the unhappy, for Matthew they are a catalog of virtues for use by the first communities, defining the conditions for entering the kingdom of God.

THE GOSPEL OF THE BEATITUDES

Both texts, both that of Luke and that of Matthew, are the Word of God for us: both therefore speak to the heart of the believer today.

THE GOOD NEWS FOR THE POOR

The Beatitudes are first and foremost the joyful proclamation of a great “Purim”, of a total reversal of fortunes: they are the announcement of the fulfillment of the hope of all categories of the oppressed and exploited of the earth!

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament, that of the LXX, the term ptochòs, poor (from ptòssò, accatto), appears about a hundred times, translating Hebrew words which always have the meaning of material poverty. Afflicted, pèntos, translates ‘ebel, expresses not so much an internal sadness, but its outward explosion: Luke therefore reserves the bliss of the afflicted for “those who cry” (klaìontes). Hungry, peinòn, corresponds to the adjective rà’èb: they are not those who have an appetite, but those who are deprived of indispensable nourishment, who do not have the minimum to live: the true translation would be “ravenous”.

Theological perspective: The first beatitudes refer us to the oracle of Is 61,1-3. As with the monarchies of neighboring peoples, in Israel the care of the weak and the poor is a specific attribute of the good king; but God is the unique King of Israel: the defense and liberation of the oppressed are therefore indispensable characteristics of him. In the Bible there is a real “theology of the cry of the poor” which is always heard by God (Ex 3.7; 22.21-26; Dt 24.14-15; Jas 5.4-5… ).

Christological perspective: The New Testament makes this announcement in the definitive Word and in the concrete example of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is first and foremost the “good news announced to the poor” (Mt 11.5; Luke 7.22), who are the privileged recipients of the coming Kingdom. “They will be consoled”, “they will be satisfied”, “they will inherit the earth”, “they will obtain mercy”, “they will see God”: it is true, we are talking about a future reward. But the first beatitude specifies to the poor that the kingdom of God “is” theirs: in Jesus now “the Kingdom of God is near”, “the kingdom of God has come to you” (Mt 12.28; Lk 11.20 ).

THE CONDITIONS FOR ENTERING THE KINGDOM OF GOD

In the early Church, the theological-anthropological perspective soon moved to the anthropological one. Attention moved from God’s behavior in establishing the Kingdom to that of man in order to access it. The Beatitudes are an invitation to always be on the side of the poor, the least, the marginalized, the oppressed, concretely

LIVING ACCORDING TO THE BEATITUDES

Being poor in spirit: poverty of spirit is the synthesis of all the Christian virtues, it is the prerequisite condition for possessing them.

Being meek: the meek (praeis) are the meek, the submissive, the available, those who do not pretend to be right, serene, optimistic.

Being hungry and thirsty for justice: justice in the biblical sense is the ability to relate with God and with brothers (Mt 5,10.20; 6,1.13).

Being merciful: the first of the Hebrew terms that designates mercy is rehamin, which properly expresses the bowels, the seat of the emotions, our “heart” (Ps 103.13; Jer 31.20; Is 63.15-16.. .).

Being pure of heart: means having a new heart, of flesh and not of stone (Ez 36,26-28), not sclerotic. It means being honest, transparent, loyal, without pretenses (Jn 1.47).

Being peacemakers (eirenopoiòi): “peacemakers”, not “peacemakers”.

Being persecuted: Christians will be persecuted for Christ’s sake (Mt 5.11; 10.24; Jn 15.20-21), just as the prophets were persecuted before (Mt 5.12; Acts 7.52).

THE PRIZE

The prize (misthòs: Mt 5,12) is certainly friendship with God, the bliss of his love for him in eschatology. But “already to the present a hundred times” (Mk 10.30), and “full joy” (Jn 16.24).

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at migliettacarlo@gmail.com.

Source

Spazio Spadoni

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