Memorial of Saint John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church
The physical location is dramatically different when comparing Matthew’s and Luke’s Beatitudes. In Matthew’s account, Jesus overlooks the Sea of Galilee on the Mount of Beatitudes (between Tabgha and Capernaum). While Luke’s Gospel, which may have been written before Matthew, has Jesus with his disciples and followers on a stretch of level ground. Matthew’s is a more poetic, softer writing style and includes five additional beatitudes.
Jesus had just identified his 12 Apostles. In today’s gospel, the first line tells us he raised his eyes toward his disciples before speaking. Great speakers make eye contact with their audience and keep their message simple – just as Jesus did with his new Apostles and followers. Using the word “you” rather than “the” kept his message personal. Remember the setting? He was on “level ground” with them, speaking directly to them when he said, “Blessed are you who are poor…Blessed are you who are now hungry…Blessed are you who are now weeping…Blessed are you when people hate you.” He was preparing them for their ministry.
Each of us experiences challenges in life; our faith in Christ offers us a way to get through difficult times with hope and strength. We grow and are fortified in our faith through these moments. As disciples, we are called to serve those in need and share the gifts of faith, hope, and love we have been blessed with, as the Presence of God is within each of us.
Saint John Chrysostom, whose name means “golden-mouthed,” was a great preacher, Bishop, and Doctor of the Church. Many of his sermons called for sharing wealth with the poor and spoke often on justice and charity. His example of how to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable caused him to be exiled twice by the empress. He died in exile in 407.
Lord, help me to find blessings in the challenges of life today. Open my eyes and heart to the needs of another person and be a blessing to that person today. Amen.