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"Lectio divina is an authentic source of Christian spirituality recommended by our Rule. We therefore practice it every day, so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it, and so that we may grow in the surpassing knowledge of Christ. In this way we shall put into practice the Apostle Paul’s commandment, which is mentioned in our Rule: “Let the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, live abundantly in your mouth and in your hearts; and whatever you must do, do it in the name of the Lord.”

 Carmelite Constitutions (No. 82)

Lectio Divina: Matthew 5,1-12

Lectio Divina: 
Monday, June 12, 2017

1) Opening prayer

God of wisdom and love,
source of all good,
send your Spirit to teach us your truth
and guide our actions
in your way of peace.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 5,1-12

Seeing the crowds, Jesus went onto the mountain. And when he was seated his disciples came to him.
Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them:
How blessed are the poor in spirit: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
Blessed are the gentle: they shall have the earth as inheritance.
Blessed are those who mourn: they shall be comforted.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for uprightness: they shall have their fill.
Blessed are the merciful: they shall have mercy shown them.
Blessed are the pure in heart: they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be recognised as children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted in the cause of uprightness: the kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
'Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven; this is how they persecuted the prophets before you.

3) Reflection

• From today, beginning of the 10th week of Ordinary Time, up to the end of the 21st Week of Ordinary time, the daily Gospels are taken from the Gospel of Matthew. Starting from the beginning of the 22nd week of Ordinary Time, up to the end of the Liturgical Year, the Gospels are taken from the Gospel of Luke.

• In Matthew’s Gospel written for the communities of the converted Jews of Galilee and Syria, Jesus is presented as the New Moses, the new legislator. In the Old Testament the Law of Moses was codified in five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. Imitating the ancient model, Matthew presents the New Law in five great discourses spread over in the Gospel: a) the Sermon on the Mountain (Mt 5,1 to 7,29); b) the Discourse on the Mission (Mt 10,1-42); c) The Discourse of the Parables (Mt 13,1-52); d) The Discourse of the Community (Mt 18,1-35); e) The Discourse of the Future of the Kingdom (Mt 24,1 a 25,46). The narrative parts, which have been put in among the five Discourses, describe the practice of Jesus and show how He observed the New Law and incarnated it in his life.

• Matthew 5, 1-2: The solemn announcement of the New Law. In agreement with the context of the Gospel of Matthew, in the moment when Jesus pronounces the Discourse on the Mountain, there were only four disciples with him (cf. Mt 4, 18-22). Few people. But an immense multitude was behind him (Mt 4, 25). In the Old Testament, Moses went up to Mount Sinai to receive the Law of God. As it happened to Moses, Jesus went up to the Mountain, and seeing the crowd, he proclaimed the New Law. The solemn way in which Matthew introduces the proclamation of the New Law is significant: “Seeing the crowds, he went onto the mountain. And when he was seated his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak. This is what he taught them: How blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of Heaven is theirs”. The eight Beatitudes open in a solemn way the “Discourse on the Mountain” – the sermon on the Mountain. In them Jesus defines who can be considered blessed, who can enter into the Kingdom. There are eight categories of persons, eight entrance doors to the Kingdom, for the community. There are no other entrances! Anyone who wants to enter into the Kingdom should identify himself with at least one of these eight categories.

• Matthew 5, 3: Blessed are the poor in spirit. Jesus acknowledges the richness and the value of the poor (Mt 11, 25-26). He defines his own mission in these words: “to proclaim the Good News to the poor” (Lk 4, 18). He himself lives poorly. He possesses nothing for himself, not even a stone where to rest his head (Mt 88, 20). And to anyone who wants to follow him, he orders to choose: God or money! (Mt 6, 24). In Luke’s Gospel it is said: “Blessed are you who are poor!” (Lk 6,20). But who is poor in spirit? It is the poor person who has the same spirit that animated Jesus. It is not the rich person, neither the poor person who has the mentality of a rich person. But rather it is the poor person who acts as Jesus, he thinks of the poor and recognizes the value in him. It is the poor person who says: “I think that the world will be better when the little one who suffers thinks of the least.

1. Blessed the poor in spirit => for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
2. Blessed the meek => they shall have the earth as inheritance
3. Blessed those who mourn => they will be consoled
4. Blessed those who hunger and thirst for justice => they shall have their fill
5. Blessed are the merciful => they shall have mercy shown them
6. Blessed are the pure in heart => they shall see God
7. Blessed are the peacemakers => they shall be recognized children of God
8. Blessed those persecuted in the cause of justice => theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.

• Matthew 5, 4-9: The new project of life. Every time that in the Bible they try to renew the Covenant, they begin by re-establishing the rights of the poor and of the excluded. Without this, the Covenant cannot be renewed! This is the way the Prophets did, this is how Jesus did. In the Beatitudes, he announces the new Project of God which accepts the poor and the excluded. It denounces the system which excludes the poor and which persecutes those who fight for justice. The first category of the “poor in spirit” and the last category of those “persecuted for the cause of justice” receive the same promise of the Kingdom of Heaven. And they receive it beginning now, in the present, because Jesus says: “theirs is the Kingdom!” The Kingdom is already present in their life. Between the first and the last category, there are six others categories which receive the promise of the Kingdom. In them there is the new project of life which wants to reconstruct life totally through a new type of relationship: with material goods (the first two); with persons among themselves (2nd two); with God (3rd two). The Christian community should be an example of this Kingdom, a place where the Kingdom begins ands takes shape, form beginning now.

The three duos: First one: the meek and those who mourn: the meek are those poor of whom Psalm 37 speaks. They have been deprived of their land and they will inherit it again (Ps 37, 11; cf. Ps Those who mourn are those who weep in the face of injustices in the world and in people (cf. Ps 119,136; Ez 9,4; Tb 13,16; 2 P 2,7). These two Beatitudes want to reconstruct the relationship with material goods: the possession of the land and of the reconciled world.

Second duo: those who hunger and thirst for justice and the merciful: Those who are hungry and thirsty for justice are those who desire to renew human living together, in such a way that once again it may be according to the demands of justice. The merciful are those who feel in their heart the misery of others because they want to eliminate the inequality between brothers and sisters. These two Beatitudes want to reconstruct the relationship among persons through the practice of justice and solidarity.

Third duo: The pure in heart and the peacemakers: The pure in heart are those who have a contemplative look which allows them to perceive the presence of God in everything. Those who promote peace, the peacemakers, will be called children of God, because they make an effort so that a new experience of God can penetrate in everything and can integrate all things. These two Beatitudes want to build up the relationship with God: to see the presence of God which acts in everything, and be called son and daughter of God.

• Matthew 5, 10-12: The persecuted for the cause of justice and of the Gospel. The Beatitudes say exactly the contrary of what society in which we live says. In fact, in society, those who are persecuted for the cause of justice are considered as unhappy, wretched persons. The poor is unhappy. Blessed is the one who has money and can go to the Supermarket and spend as he wishes. Blessed is the one who is hungry for power. The unhappy and wretched are the poor, those who weep! In television, the novels diffuse this myth of the happy and fulfilled person. And without being aware, the novels become the model of life for many of us. Is there still place in our society for these words of Jesus: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for the cause of justice and of the Gospel? Blessed are the poor! Blessed are those who weep!”? And according to me, being a Christian, in fact, who is blessed?

4) Personal questions

• We all want to be happy. All of us! But are we truly happy? Why yes? Why no? How can we understand that a person can be poor and happy at the same time?

• In which moments of your life have you felt truly happy? Was it a happiness like the one proclaimed by Jesus in the Beatitudes, or was it of another type?

5) Concluding Prayer

I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
where is my help to come from?
My help comes from Yahweh
who made heaven and earth. (Ps 121,1-2)

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister." 


date | by Dr. Radut