We’ve moved on from Christmas quite a bit now and Jesus has thus been revealed to us in Mass to be the new royal son of David and also, of course, the Son of God. He has been sent to His people with a divine mission to spearhead a new exodus that brings Israel, not out of captivity from the Egyptians or even the Romans, but to lead the new Israel, i.e. the Church, out from the captivity of sin.
In the same way that Moses led the Israelites in his exodus from Egypt, through the waters of the Red Sea, to give Israel God’s law on Mount Sinai, Jesus has passed through the waters of the Jordan through baptism and now, in this Sunday’s Gospel, will go up onto the Mount of the Beatitudes to give us a new law — the law of the Kingdom of Heaven.
The beatitudes (from the Latin Beati meaning “happy” or “blessed”) finally bring the fulfilment of the promise that God made to Abraham in the book of Genesis — “I will bless those who bless you… and by you all the families of the earth shall bless themselves” (Genesis 12:3; see also Genesis 22:18).
Jesus is the “seed” (son) of Abraham (see Matthew 1:1) and through Jesus’ characteristic wisdom He speaks in this Sunday’s Gospel and gives His hearers (that’s us!) the Father’s blessings — those who are “poor in spirit.”
God has always chosen to bless the weak and the lowly; those who are marginalised in society and are seen to be outcasts because of their many “inabilities” and St Paul also tells us this in this Sunday’s Second Reading (which continues on from last week’s). St Paul describes who the poor in spirit are: “Those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen — those who are nothing at all to show up those who are everything.” They are the ones that know that there is nothing that they can do to merit God’s mercy and grace. These are also the humb