Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Luminous Mysteries ~ The Proclamation of the Kingdom


The Sermon on the Mount ~ Jan Brueghel the Elder (1598)

THIS IS A GREAT PICTURE. There is a light from Jesus which permeates the crowd, but then it stops. Maybe the people beyond the line of light have hearts that are closed to Jesus. Look! Not everyone is paying attention, especially the folks in the back of the crowd. Most are involved in their own conversations. Some men even seem to be flirting with the girl with the dog. Are there people selling things? I've preached in churches which resemble aspects of this scene. Saint Thomas More (1478-1535) said of Medieval England: "England would have yawned at the Sermon on the Mount." But we're no different. Along with a deep consideration of the image, we might read The Sermon on the Mount, (Matthew 5,6,7) before praying. It's the content of the teaching Jesus delivered in this painting.

The Third Luminous Mystery

The Proclamation of the Kingdom

Our Father, who art in heaven...

Jesus sat down for his Sermon on the Mount because he taught them with authority. He's the new Moses; the new Sinai. Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it!" (Luke 11:28) Jesus says. I must be attentive to the other voices I heed, especially media voices.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Kingdom of God, which Jesus proclaims, is God's rule in my life. God first! On Easter night the Soviet soldier stood at the church door, redirecting the young people to the movie theatre to watch free Western films. The young man refused the pressure and went inside the church for the liturgy. He understood God first.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

The Beatitudes are not a new code of conduct for everyone to copy but rather God's announcement of blessing for those in the world who are at the bottom, reversing the world's emphasis: the Untouchables of India, whose job is to pick up human waste from the streets. God knows. So why doesn't God do something about it? Rather, why don't people do something about it?

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Blessed are the mourners. Much of the world lives in perpetual mourning: those who live where  wars are unceasing; those in the fourth world who live off the refuse of the first world.

 Hail Mary, full of grace...

Blessed are the meek. But meek isn't a good word because it makes us think of someone who is weak or perceived as a loser. Rather, blessed are those who know how dependent we are upon God, for all we have and who we are, and who don't resort to cheating to improve things for themselves.

 Hail Mary, full of grace...

Blessed are the merciful. Mercy isn't pity but God's kindness through justice. The first world has the best food, the best toys, the best shopping and uses the most electricity. Living in that first world we often forget about the more of the world which has little to nothing.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Blessed are the pure of heart. But this isn't about sexual things. A clean heart create in me, O God (Psalm 51:10) - that is: a heart free of resentment, attachments, cynicism and inner blindness. A pure heart is open to God and other people.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Blessed are the peacemakers. Peacemakers, not peace hope-ers or peace wishers. I will be attentive to the desire for power which causes conflict. And in another gospel place, "Take no walking stick" (Luke 9:3) - the walking stick being a means of self-defense. Jesus would undoubtedly understand that this is difficult beyond imagining! But He also would probably have little patience with our bitter and divisive fighting over gun clips and background checks. 

Hail Mary, full of grace...

They will be called children of God. There can be no more derogatory name-calling. This is who we are: children of God. All of us! And the world will not be well until we realize this in our hearts and start to live out of that realization.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, Jesus says. Exceedingly glad! There can be no such thing as a sad Christian. Mother Teresa says our smile is our best gift. Often the poorest people smile the most and the best.

Hail Mary, full of grace...

Glory be to the Father...  


Lights in the night, bless the Lord! (Daniel 3)

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