Feast of All Saints – Sister Nancy Wellmeier, SNDdeN
November 1, 2021
Matthew 5: 1-12a
The Beatitudes, these nine descriptions of those who will be blessed by God, go entirely against the religious thought of the Jewish faithful of Jesus’ time, where trouble was seen as punishment for sin. For Jesus, trouble is a sign of blessing. Matthew depicts Jesus as the new law-giver, speaking from a hill-top, in a flashback to Moses on Mt. Sinai receiving the commandments. These words are so familiar they have worn grooves in our consciousness and we hardly hear them anymore. One way around this is to find the Biblical text in another language to see if a new light can be shed on old words. Here is what my Spanish New Testament revealed:
English: the poor in spirit – Spanish: those who recognize their spiritual need
English: the sorrowful – Spanish: those who are grieving
English: the lowly – Spanish: those with a patient and humble heart
English: those who hunger and thirst for holiness – Spanish: those who hunger and thirst to do God’s will
English: those who show mercy – Spanish: those who show compassion for others
English: the single-hearted – Spanish: those whose heart is focused on God
English: the peacemakers – Spanish: those who work for peace
English: those persecuted for holiness – Spanish: those persecuted for doing God’s will
The last Beatitude is directed straight at the audience: Blessed are YOU when you are insulted, mistreated and lied about when you follow me—be happy, your reward awaits. This seems especially relevant in our divided society today.
Try this with your phone translator and you may gain some new insight. Most importantly, not only are we called “blessed” but called to BE a blessing.
Matthew 5: 1-12a
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.”
The Gospel of the Lord