During this special Year of the Word: The God Who Speaks, we are going to have a regular series of reflections published on our website which will prompt us to reflect on important passages of St Matthew’s Gospel, and learn more about them. We are very grateful to Dr Natalie Watson, a contemporary theologian and writer, for offering these reflections for our community.
Mountains are important in Matthew’s Gospel. In the Old Testament Moses received the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, and this passage from Matthew’s Gospel is the beginning of a section known as the ‘Sermon on the Mount’. Like many teachers in the ancient world, Jesus begins his speech with a memorable summary of what he is going to talk about. The subject of the Sermon on the Mount is repentance and turning to God, what it really means to live as a disciple of Jesus and to belong to the kingdom of God.
The first readers of the Beatitudes, as this section is called, may have thought about Moses on Mount Sinai, but perhaps also of the beginning of the Book of Psalms: ‘Happy are those whose delight is in the Law of God.’ And here Jesus spells out what this means, what it means to belong to the kingdom of God. In God’s kingdom which Jesus came to proclaim, a different set of values applies: the people who matter are not those who may think themselves to be important or those who are held in high regard by the world for what they own or what they do. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who have no one to rely on but God; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ Those who are blessed, who receive and experience God’s love, are those who trust in God for every aspect of their lives and who long for God’s justice to be done on earth, who share his peace. God blesses all who seek to live by the values of his kingdom, and they will receive his reward in heaven.
Go who blesses all who turn to you, help us to build your kingdom and to seek your justice in all we do.