Wednesday of the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time – Lk 6:20-26
In today’s Gospel, we heard Christ proclaim the Beatitudes. Over the centuries, the fathers and doctors of the Church have consistently pointed to the Sermon on the Mount, and especially the Beatitudes, as the “plan for the Kingdom of Christ.” As Saint Thomas Aquinas writes, “the sermon on the Mount contains the whole process of forming the life of a Christian.” It’s a good measure of how well we are conforming ourselves to the ideal that Christ traces out here, to see how well we are living it out in our lives.
In 2000, Pope Saint John Paul the Great celebrated Mass on the Mount of the Beatitudes. Speaking to the youth, his homily is very well suited for daily living. He said:
Not far from this very place, Jesus called his first disciples, as he calls you now. His call has always demanded a choice between the two voices competing for your hearts even now on this hill, the choice between good and evil, between life and death. Which voice will the young people of the twenty-first century choose to follow? To put your faith in Jesus means choosing to believe what he says, no matter how strange it may seem, and choosing to reject the claims of evil, no matter how sensible or attractive they may seem.
In the end, Jesus does not merely speak the Beatitudes. He lives the Beatitudes. He is the Beatitudes. Looking at him you will see what it means to be poor in spirit, gentle and merciful, to mourn, to care for what is right, to be pure in heart, to make peace, to be persecuted. This is why he has the right to say, “Come, follow me!” He does not say simply, “Do what I say”. He says, “Come, follow me!”
You hear his voice on this hill, and you believe what he says. But like the first disciples at the Sea of Galilee, you must leave your boats and nets behind, and that is never easy—especially when you face an uncertain future. To be good Christians may seem beyond your strength in today’s world. But Jesus does not stand by and leave you alone to face the challenge. He is always with you to transform your weakness into strength. Trust him when he says: “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9)!
Young people: answer the Lord with a heart that is willing and open! Willing and open, like the heart of the greatest daughter of Galilee, Mary, the Mother of Jesus. How did she respond? She said: “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word” (Lk 1:38).
We, too, pray, through the intercession of Mary, Model of the Beatitudes, for the grace to know and live out the Beatitudes in our lives, so that, by knowing Christ, we might love and serve Him all the more.