Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
Blessed are you. If… Our Gospel for this week, Matthew 5;1-12, is often the victim of really bad explanations and interpretations. “You are blessed if…” then it becomes a list of commands you must keep. If this doesn’t seem destructive, just take a moment to consider what verse four would say to someone who is in distress, someone who d eals with anxiety, someone who is depressed. If you are sorry enough then you will be comforted. You don’t seem comforted. Therefore . . .
What a load of guilt we needlessly put upon people by such terrible interpretation. Might as well hit me with a hammer as accuse me that way.
Jesus is using a pattern which can be seen again and again in the Psalms, as well as in many other poetic passages of the Old Testament. He phrases this in couplets. Each one speaks about a third person example. Blessed is the one who… The passage, up to possibly verse 10 and certainly verse 11, is not about you. It’s about someone else.
In verse 11 it focuses directly on the people hearing him. Jesus uses a plural pronoun. You all are blessed when (not if). When is that? I’d better figure it out because it might be about me. When I am persecuted for righteousness. When I am hated because of Christ’s name. Then I can be glad.
Why does this make me glad? I am told here that I have a great reward in heaven. So did I earn it? No, it was given to me by the one who is a poor in spirit, the one who mourns, the one who is meek, who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, the merciful one, the one who is pure in heart and has made peace between me and God. This one, God the Son, has adopted me as his own and has given me an inheritance in heaven.
Truly, blessed are you.
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