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Posted: 1/27/2011 5:50:01 PM EDT
January 30, 2010



First Reading:
Zephaniah 2:3;3:12-13


3 Seek the Lord, all ye meek of the earth, you that have wrought his judgment:
seek the just, seek the meek: if by any means you may be hid in the day of the Lord's indignation.
12 And I will leave in the midst of thee a poor and needy people: and they shall hope in the name of the Lord.
13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed, and shall lie down, and there shall be none to make them afraid.

Second Reading:
1 Corinthians 1:26-31


26 For see your vocation, brethren, that there are not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble:
27 But the foolish things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the wise; and the weak things of the world hath God chosen, that he may confound the strong.
28 And the base things of the world, and the things that are contemptible, hath God chosen, and things that are not, that he might bring to nought things that are:
29 That no flesh should glory in his sight.
30But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and justice, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, as it is written: He that glorieth, may glory in the Lord.

Gospel:
Matthew 5:1-12a


1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him.
2 And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying:
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
5 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
6 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.
10 Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake:
12a Be glad and rejoice,

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Study Page

Overview of the Gospel:

* This week’s Gospel reading looks to the beginning of Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount at a series of sayings known as “the Beatitudes.” As we learned a few weeks ago, Matthew’s gospel brings out many of the parallels between the life of Moses and that of Jesus. Here we see that, just as Moses ascended Mt Sinai to deliver the Jewish Law to Israel (Exodus 19), Jesus delivers the laws of his Kingdom from the Mount of the Beatitudes.

* Although the word “blessed” is sometimes translated as “happy,” here it actually denotes righteousness before God: forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-2), faith (Psalm 2:12; John 20:29), and obedience to God (Deuteronomy 30:19-20; Psalm 1:1; 119:1).

* The Beatitudes describe the model of love for the Kingdom of God; a kingdom that is already in our midst (Luke 11:20), but not yet completed (Luke 11:2). This model is completely contrary to the wisdom of the world (1 Corinthians 1:17-31).

* If we read the Beatitudes carefully, we see that each one builds upon the other with the first (“Blessed are the poor in spirit”) being the foundation of all.

Questions:

* In the first part of the 1st Reading, who—or what sort of people—is the prophet addressing? What is he calling them to do? Who is the Lord addressing in the second part, and how does he describe them? Do I meet this description right now? How can I more aspire to conform to this calling?

* How well do you identify with those whose calling is described by St. Paul in the 2nd Reading? How does it make you feel: Insulted? Humble? Overqualified? Underquailified? How does this calling work itself out in practical Christian piety toward God and charity toward our brothers and sisters in the Lord?

* In the Gospel Reading, how do the eight qualities that describe the “blessed” relate to the promise that follow them? How do they relate to one another? How would you describe the opposite of each quality? Who would you call “blessed” in today’s world?

* Is Jesus describing who his followers are? Or prescribing what they must do? Why do you think so? How is Jesus’ kingdom already, but not yet?

* What does it mean to be “poor in spirit? Name a person (famous or not) who exemplifies “poverty of spirit” and humility.

* Of these eight qualities, which two do you desire most in your life? Why? Which of these are you tempted to avoid?
Link Posted: 1/28/2011 6:50:53 PM EDT
* In the first part of the 1st Reading, who—or what sort of people—is the prophet addressing? What is he calling them to do? Who is the Lord addressing in the second part, and how does he describe them? Do I meet this description right now? How can I more aspire to conform to this calling?

The prophet in the first reading is addressing all the people of Judah. They had fallen away from worshiping God. They had been through a terrible reign of the worst king they had ever had. King Manasseh worshiped foreign gods and idols, practised superstitions of all kinds, oppressed the people and was complicit in murder. In fact, he was the occasion of the decision of Yahweh to destroy Judah! The people were really bad off––many of them were prideful, arrogant and reverting to paganism.

Zephaniah is calling the people to repent, obey, and be humble as the ultimate catastrophe of judgment day by Yaweh was at hand. It was a solemn warning.

And yet, as shown in the second part, God in his infinite mercy will allow a scrap, a "remnant" of Judah to escape the destruction. They will be "humble and lowly" under the protection of God.

Am I "humble and lowly?" Not most of the time; sometimes I am. Not nearly enough. Boy––have I got to work on my humility.

I have learned you can't think of God as a big slot-machine, where I put in a few prayers and expect a big jackpot and payout. That isn't God. He's not a conjurer or magician. He's my creator and Lord. He is God and I am not. That ought to make me real humble. I am but a speck of dirt on the floor in His vast cosmos––but I realize he loves that speck!

Jesus is God. Was Jesus humble? Absolutely. God is humble. Can we as servants be greater than the Master? No. How can we be anything but humble?

I really have to work hard at love, obedience, and humility.

As Fr. John Corapi says: "Humility?––-You cannot learn humility unless you have been humiliated."
Link Posted: 1/29/2011 5:20:48 PM EDT
* What does it mean to be “poor in spirit? Name a person (famous or not) who exemplifies “poverty of spirit” and humility.

To be poor in spirit means acknowledging that one is in need of a savior. It means being aware of one's smallness before God. It means realizing where to look to fill up the emptiness we all feel inside - you know, that God-shaped hole? To be poor in spirit we must also be able to put our trust in God 100%. Rather than wallowing in despair when things are going badly, or patting ourselves on the back too hard when things are going well, we need to remember to ask him for help and praise and glorify him always.

There are so many examples of the poor in spirit! One need look no further than the communion of saints, of course. But of the living... one easy answer would be our beloved Holy Father. I also hear many people who fit the description when I listen to Catholic radio - I just have to give another plug for Ave Maria Radio, the station in my neck of the woods - but also on EWTN. There are so many people in that ministry that are just on fire for the Lord and do what they do to further his kingdom!


For anyone with an hour to kill (because I know you've got all kinds of free time ) this is a great show discussing the beatitudes. They go through each one and discuss it in a practical way that can be applied to life, not just the deep theological stuff you have to sit and ponder.
Link Posted: 1/30/2011 1:36:57 AM EDT
Interesting thread...I'm currently in RCIA and have been doing my weekly study on the readings. Been pondering them tonight here at work and just decided to take a break and hop on ARFCOM...then I thought...hmmmm...ARFCOM has a religion forum...I'll just duck in there real quick and lucky me....look what I found. Pretty neat.

Thanks for starting the thread.

Link Posted: 1/30/2011 5:57:21 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/30/2011 5:59:14 AM EDT by angelfire]
First Ms. Cattitude thank you for posting this each week end.

The Sermon on the mount is one of my all time favorite scriptures.
The poor in Spirit IS the deference of ourselves in submission to God. And in my life I have been blessed by people who consistently, though massively talented and intelligent,
remain humble in ALL things and give recognition to God. And because I know they could be arrogant about these things, or they could take credit, by their example I stay humbled myself.

And the other thing that seems to go hand in hand with people who are poor in spirit is their acceptance of those who can never measure up in comparison. They tend to recognize the value of others no matter who they
are. I think that is when you know it is genuine.

Blessings this day.
AF
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