Grace: To grow in an intimate knowledge of the Lord, allowing the Beatitudes to be my way to love and to follow Christ.
Text for Prayer: Mt. 5:1-12
Reflection: After his baptism and the time he spends in the desert, Jesus recognizes that the call to action has come. It is time for him to proclaim and prepare the way of God’s Kingdom. In order to do this, Jesus calls twelve disciples. Right before the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew shows us Jesus selecting the disciples who will be his fellow-workers. If helpers and assistants are to embrace the Kingdom, they must first have instruction.
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’s instruction of his disciples. In it, Jesus shows the disciples what the Kingdom of God is all about and that the Kingdom of God is here already but not yet fully. One great scholar called the Sermon on the Mount “the ordination address to the Twelve.” It is Jesus’s lesson to the twelve before their time of apprenticeship and companionship with the Lord. The Sermon is the Manifesto of the King, a moment of formal teaching when Jesus opens his heart and pours out his mind to his disciples. In doing so, he teaches the disciples that the Kingdom of God invites us to open our hearts and pour out our lives for the sake of the world.
Jesus teaches his disciples of the happiness—the blessedness—of proclaiming and preparing the way of the Kingdom. The Beatitudes are not statements—in the original Aramaic no verb is used. The Beatitudes are not simple explanations; they are exclamations: “O the blessedness of the poor in spirit!”
This blessedness is not the possibility of a future time—it exists here and now. It is not something the disciples will enjoy in the future; it is something into which each disciples has already entered. The Beatitudes proclaim the bliss of being a disciple, the joy of following the Lord, and the sheer happiness of knowing Jesus Christ.
Just as with the disciples, Jesus continues to proclaim the Kingdom of God to us and to prepare the way for that Kingdom in and through our lives. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declares the blessedness of being a disciple. Today, Jesus opens his heart and pours out his mind to us as he invites us to embrace that Kingdom and become missionary disciples. The Manifesto of the King is not a simple invitation to know about the Lord, but rather to know Jesus Christ—to have a personal encounter with him that transforms us and invites us to proclaim God’s Kingdom with our lives. O, the blessedness of being a disciple.
Prayer: Lord, how blessed am I to be your disciple. Teach me to open my heart and pour out my mind for the sake of the Kingdom. Help me to be grateful for my vocation as a missionary disciple. Draw me closer to your heart so that in knowing you more clearly, I may love you more dearly and follow you more nearly. Amen.