January 29, 2017: Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
When Jesus 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.” (Matthew 5:1-12)
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ break-out album. It is his first public statement, and the longest statement or sermon of his life. He sets the tone by being abundantly clear about who is blessed in the new reign of God, and it marks a dramatic shift in belief about who can consider themselves people of God. In the new vision, Jesus’ vision, the new reign of God is for everyone. Everyone.
That surely is something to rejoice and be glad about!
Take a month of Sundays to take stock of the people in our pews, active committee members, and church decision-makers. Are our Christian faith communities making room for all God’s people, or are some less welcome than others? If so, what may we do to enable our church communities to more fully reflect God’s wildly inclusive love?