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GOSPEL COMMENTARIES


 

 

THE BEATITUDES (Matthew 5:1-12)

To go to heaven one must be a saint. There are different degrees of holiness. Though all saints are holy, there are those who are holier than others. And the difference in their holiness depends upon the level of Beatitude they have reached. 

The first Beatitude is the lowest degree of holiness and the eighth is the highest. One cannot go to the second Beatitude without first going through the first. The Beatitudes, therefore, demonstrate the different degrees of holiness attainable. Note that the Kingdom of heaven is promised to those who reach even only the first Beatitude.

Before Christ taught the Beatitudes, He brought His listeners to a mountainside. . . showing us that the things of God and the way to heaven cannot be learned in the midst of business of city life. We have to leave this busy city way of life to learn the way to salvation.

The mountainside is a symbol of the monastic life. But this is no guarantee that the soul will learn and, much less, be saved. For in the mountainside Christ was followed by both the multitude and the disciples. The multitude are those who cannot learn while the disciples are those who learn--the multitude, because they went not to learn but to receive miracles; the disciples went to learn.

And so, in monasteries and convents, there are religious who belong to the multitude and those who are disciples. More are like the multitude in that they entered for other reasons than to learn how to be holy. Others could have entered for the right reasons but lost their goal along the way.

The same thing could happen during Mass. The Gospel is read and explained, whether well or not is immaterial. But because the minds of the laymen are on everything except learning how to please God, they leave the Church learning nothing. So they know nothing about how to save their souls. How can they be saved? 

This is the present state of most Christians today. They want to learn so many things; but how to please God is not one of them. If they ever go to religion, it is for healing and favors. They go to Church that God may please them and not for them to learn how to please God. They are just like the multitude who followed Christ but learned nothing. And so at the slightest hardship they stopped following Christ. 

 

 

 

 

(08-29-02)

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