Wednesday, September 28, 2005
If the sermon on the Mountain represents the essence of the new Gospel, the beatitudes are its best and most concise summary.
It is almost two thousand years since these sentences have been first uttered but they will always be vivid and exemplary. The context in which they are related by the evangelists reflects the enthusiasm of the crowds of people eager to hear the divine wisdom. The Mountain of the beatitudes, a promontory lying halfway between Tabor and Caparnaum, near the city of Tiberias, in Galilee, is the place where Christ sums up in nine sentences and recommendations, the Messianic teaching about how the Christian can inherit the Kingdom of heaven, as a target and sense of life, as an evangelical ideal. The respective sentences are both ways and steps of perfection, a bunch of virtues through which eternal happiness can be acquired. Both guide marks, perfection and happiness, imply each other. In the content of each of them we obviously distinguish the urge and the promise of eternal happiness.