At the beginning of the public life of Jesus, according to the gospel of Saint Matthew, he sat on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee and delivered the famous “Sermon on the Mount,” the most profound collection of moral principles the world has ever known. You can find that sermon in chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Saint Matthew’s gospel. It begins with the beatitudes “Blessed (or happy) are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” and the rest of them.
[Pope Saint] John Paul II, in commenting on the beatitudes one time said that they are a self-portrait of Jesus. He describes what he is like, and then says to the world: be like me. He is the perfect human being, the examplar and ideal of all human life. The more we resemble him, the more truly “Christian” we become, the holier, the more pleasing to God the Father, the more successful at full human living. This is a beautiful and very encouraging concept: Jesus asks us to be like himself. The beatitudes are the exact opposite of the principles of the secular, selfish, wealth-seeking, power-seeking, pleasure-seeking, and hostile world in which we live.
We should meditate on the beatitudes often and often remind ourselves: this is the kind of person Jesus is, and his blessed mother, and all the saints. This is the kind of person I am called to be. Lord, grant that I may always use these beatitudes as an examination of conscience to see how I am doing in my Christian life. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God Bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.