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In his book The Hidden Power of the Gospels, Alexander J. Shaia,, says when we read Matthew we are on a path of change  and it is as if the evangelist has painted his words on  the tapestry of the mountain.

If I were about to be marooned on a tropical island (better than one that is nothing but desert), and I could only take one book of the bible with me, it would be Matthew’s gospel. For one thing, it has the classic Matthew 25, but the real reason is this version of the Sermon on the Mount.

I could spend a life-time trying to figure out what it is that Jesus is trying to teach us. If by chance I did come to comprehend the teaching I could then devote a second lifetime trying to understand why we,as his disciples, choose for the most part to ignored this passage.(I am assuming I would have a lot of time alone to think on the island!)

In the homily, this week there will only be time to explore one (perhaps two if I go a bit long) of the beatitudes.  The best place to start is at the beginning so most of the talk will be on:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

A couple of questions: Why did Matthew soften Luke’s version (“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.) Second -What in the world does it mean to be Poor in Spirit?

While I ponder these questions here is a thought from my ‘friend’ Fr. Richard Rohr on this particular verse of scripture:

“… I always say this one liner is the beginning of Jesus’ inaugural address: “Congratulations to the poor in spirit.” It is a key to everything Jesus will teach and live. Your opening line often contains your main point or leads to your main point. I wonder if most Christians have seen a simple, humble spirit as absolutely central to Jesus’ teaching?

To be “poor in spirit” means to live without a need for your own rightness, or any sense of moral superiority to anyone else. It’s a free inner emptiness, with no outer need for advancing your own reputation or any opinionated one-upmanship. If you’re actually poor in spirit it won’t be long before you’re poor in other ways too. You won’t waste the rest of your life trying to get rich because you’ll know better on the inside. Inner poverty precedes and lays the foundation for a simple, non-consuming lifestyle. ”Adapted from Jesus’ Plan for the New World, p.130

Tomorrow- Lindsay Lohan and the Beatitudes.


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