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Fourth Week of Ordinary Time

Mt. 5:1-12

What brings you happiness? Some people would say money - isn’t that why so many people do the weekly lottery? Others would say their annual holiday abroad, a comfortable life, a good marriage or a stable job. Not many would say that the truly blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek and the persecuted. Yet, Jesus says these are the things that bring happiness.

His values as expressed in the eight Beatitudes turn those of the world upside down and show us the way to true happiness. Whenever I read the Beatitudes I think I am reading a thumb-nail autobiography of Jesus – because these are the values He embodied in His life.

To be poor in spirit means that we see our utter poverty and how reliant we are on our Father in Heaven. We recognise we depend upon Him for the air we breathe, our next heartbeat and our nourishment. Knowing that He will look after us, and never let us down, will bring us so much peace, contentment and happiness. We know He is always there for us.

When we mourn for our sins and those of the world we are appealing to God's love and forgiveness. We know He listens and does forgive.

To be meek doesn't mean that we lack backbone. It means that we are humble and we live our lives with gentleness and self-control.

When we hunger and thirst for righteousness we want God's justice to reign on our Earth and we abhor the thought of anyone person being treated unjustly.

When we sin we want to be treated mercifully by God but first we should want to treat others with mercy - for Saint James tells us that there is no judgement for the person who shows mercy.

Those who love Christ want to be pure. We don't want pornography and lust to soil and degrade our lives and those of our young ones.

We, the followers of Christ, detest the ravages, stupidity and futility of war and terrorism to ruin the lives of countless innocent people. We want peace to reign in our world.

Like Jesus we would like to be brave and stand up for what we know to be right. Should we be insulted or persecuted because of our faith or for Jesus' sake we would like to endure it willingly for His sake.

If this is our mindset, and the way we behave, then we are living the Beatitudes. And what wonderful promises Jesus has given if we live the Beatitudes! It may not bring us the material happiness the world hungers for, but it will bring us rewards beyond price … entry into the kingdom of Heaven. We will enjoy the mercy of God; we will be satisfied; we shall see God and be called children of God. The saints who have gone before us lived their lives this way.

Lord Jesus, teach us to live the life of the Beatitudes, and so walk in Your footsteps and hope that one day we shall join You in Heaven.

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