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By Fr. Tom Zelinski, OFM Capuchin

This week we read Matthew Chapter 5 in our daily Mass readings: the Sermon on the Mount. We start with the Beatitudes. Jesus teaches from a hilltop. Perhaps this reflects the Old Testament story of Moses and the Ten Commandments. Jesus is sometimes seen as the New Moses.

But the Beatitudes are not so much commandments as they are an invitation to see and appreciate what is already part of our humanity. Jesus says “Blessed are they . . .” Another word would be “Happy.” And the beginning statement is perhaps the key. Blessed, happy are we when we recognize our spiritual poverty. This is not something we work for or try to achieve. If we are honest, we are all poor and needy before God and each other.

So much of our world runs on ego: be first, be a winner, be self-sufficient, be in control. Soon we might add: be miserable, be angry, don’t trust anyone, be afraid of anyone “different” from me.

Jesus tells us happiness comes from facing our vulnerable reality, our need for others, accepting times when we must weep,
even times when we are persecuted for doing good. And there are things to do: be a peacemaker, hunger and thirst for righteousness. This way to happiness may not appear in the advertising on television.

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