Saint for the day: Blessed Jolenta (Yolanda) of Poland (c. 1235 – June 11, 1298)
2 Corinthians 1:1-7 – Psalm 34 – Matthew 5:1-12
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3ff)
The quote above from today’s first Scripture reading is long, and, in typical Pauline fashion, is one, long sentence! But I think it holds the key to our understanding of today’s Holy Gospel where we hear Jesus proclaim The Beatitudes.
In the quote above, notice that the word, encourage or encouragement appears five times and would seem to be the key to understanding the Beatitudes. Many spiritual directors might suggest that we approach the Beatitudes in various different forms such as, “when am I ‘poor in spirit’” or “how am I poor in spirit? That’s a good spiritual exercise but we always need to let the Holy Scriptures explode in as many ways as possible.
Another way might be to take that quote above and put it into “active voice” and then read the Beatitudes with the question, “How have I encouraged the poor in spirit? How have I encouraged those who mourn? Have I been a source of encouragement to those who are persecuted?”
If we can see this new way of following the Beatitudes in just a few of these statements we should be able to experience the ending of today’s Holy Gospel: “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Amen!