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The reading is from the Gospel of Matthew 5:1-12.

Sermon of the Beatitudes by James J.J. Tissot

The Sermon on the Mount – The Beatitudes

When he saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.

He began to teach them, saying:

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

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me.

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The Sermon on the Mount has been long hailed as the sum of the ethical teachings of Jesus that tell us how to live.

This sermon may be compared to the shorter “Sermon on the Plain” in the Gospel of Luke, in 6:17-49. Unlike Luke’s sermon, Matthews’ Sermon on the Mount is addressed not only to the disciples but to the crowds

  • When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, (Matthew 7:28)

The term Beatitude comes from the Latin adjective beatus which means happy, fortunate, or blissful.

The Beatitudes (anglicized from the Matthean Vulgate Latin section title: Beatitudines) are a set of teachings by Jesus that appear in both Matthews’ “Sermon on the Mount” and in Luke’s “Sermon on the Plain.”

In almost all cases the phrases used, in particular the form “Blessed are” occurs frequently in the Old Testament in the Wisdom literature and in the psalms. Although modified by Matthew, the first, second, fourth, and ninth beatitudes have Lucan parallels. The others were added by the evangelist and are probably his own composition. A few manuscripts, Western and Alexandrian, and many versions and patristic quotations give the second and third beatitudes in inverted order.

According to some scholars, the teachings are expressed as eight blessings in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. The consider Matthew 5:11 as a continuation of verse 5:10 and is often viewed as a commentary (“Blessed are you when they insult you…”), which R. T. France considers based on

Hear me, you who know justice,
you people who have my teaching at heart:
Do not fear the reproach of others;
remain firm at their revilings. (Isaiah 51:7)

Each Beatitude consists of two phrases: the condition and the result.

The beatitudes present only in Matthew are the meek, the merciful, the clean of heart, and the peacemakers. The other four have similar entries in Luke, but are followed almost immediately by “four woes” that mirror the blessings.

Sermon on the Plain – Matthew 6:20-26

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.

Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.

Together, the Beatitudes present a new set of Christian ideals that focus on love and humility rather than force and exaction. They echo the highest ideals of the teachings of Jesus on mercy; spirituality and compassion.

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