By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The Beatitudes: Matthew sets the scene on the mountain. We therefore understand that “he is creating a parallel between Jesus and the figure of Moses—between the presentation of the Old Law, the Decalogue, and that of the New Law, the Beatitudes,” Fr Tolentino begins.
The Beatitudes are our path
He continues by saying that the Beatitudes are more than a law. They are, rather “a configuration of life, a true existential call.” In this way, they enlighten the path for the Church and for humanity as we journey toward an eschatological horizon.
The Beatitudes are a self-portrait of Jesus
Jesus’ Beatitudes are not only words that he proclaimed. “They represent the key by which to read his entire life.” We find in Jesus a model for living each of the Beatitudes. Above all, for us Christians, they are a “self-portrait of the one who pronounced them.” Fr Tolentino says that for Jesus this self-portrait “is an image of himself which he is constantly revealing to us and imprints on our hearts.” It is the model that we should use in order to “transform our own image.”
How are we proclaiming the Beatitudes?
God desires that our life be lived according to the beatitudes. This prompts Fr Tolentino to ask the questions: “But what have we made of the Gospel of the Beatitudes? How have we proclaimed it? How do we put it into practice?” Do we see those who mourn, those who are in need of consolation, those who hunger and thirst for justice, the peacemakers? If we do, Fr Tolentino observes, “by being at their side,.” the Church will rediscover her mission.
The parable that best describes “Beatitude people” is that of the wedding guests (Luke 14:15-24). After the invited guests refuse to come, the “poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame” are invited. “The Church is not an exclusive club, closed, happy in measuring who to exclude. She must keep the doors open and, in an inclusive key, mirror in herself the world’s crossroads.”