For the next couple of weeks we will be listening to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount in our daily liturgies. The Sermon on the Mount occupies chapters 5, 6 and 7 of the Gospel of Matthew. The Sermon has been one of the most widely quoted elements of the Gospels. This teaching of Jesus gives us direction in how we as disciples are called to live out our faith. It might be good to read Matthew 5-7 as a guide to our faith lives.
The Sermon is set early in the Ministry of Jesus after he has been baptized by John the Baptist in chapter 3 of Matthew's Gospel, gathered his first disciples in chapter 4, and had returned from a long fast and contemplation in the Judaean Desert where he had been tempted by Satan to renounce his spiritual mission and gain worldly riches.
The teachings of the Sermon on the Mount have been a key element of Christian ethics, and for centuries, the sermon has acted as a fundamental recipe for the conduct of the followers of Jesus. Various religious and moral thinkers (e.g. Gandhi) have admired its message, and it has been one of the main sources of Christian life.
In the 5th century, Saint Augustine began his book Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount by stating:
If anyone will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life.
The last verse of chapter 5 of Matthew (5:48) is a focal point of the sermon that summarizes its teachings by advising the disciples to seek perfection. The Greek word telios used to refer to perfection also implies an end, or destination, advising the disciples to seek the path towards perfection and the Kingdom of God. It teaches that God's children are those who act like God.
The teachings of the sermon are often referred to as the Ethics of the Kingdom: they place a high level of emphasis on "purity of the heart" and embody the basic standard of Christian righteousness.
Msgr John Shamleffer
A special thank you to all who helped to clean Church last Saturday; all is sanitized and ready for our parishioners!
Flag Day is Monday and while it is not a major holiday, it does remind us of the blessings of our nation. The flag, a sign of hope and unity, reminds me to be thankful for the people who helped build this country. Some famous people like Washington and Lincoln helped make this a better country, but some people who never became famous also helped make this country great. It also calls us to continue to be a nation who welcomes and cares for peoples of all backgrounds!