Sunday, November 01, 2009

The Gospel for the Feast of All Saints: The Beatitudes

Today we celebrate in both the ancient and modern Roman calendars the Feast of All Saints, and in the both missals, the Gospel is taken from that according to St. Matthew, 5: 1-12, where Christ teaches the Eight Beatitudes as part of his beloved Sermon on the Mount.

Speaking personally, the Beatitudes -- and the Sermon on the Mount generally -- have always been one of my particularly favourite passages of Sacred Scripture as they are both beautiful and pertinent for meditation. These passages provide much fruit for self-reflection, reminding us of our need to make the God and His Commandments first and foremost in our lives (as it was for the saints), which in turn should shape our character, actions and attitudes, be it in person, on the internet, out in the world or within the Church.

Most of us will have heard these read as part of today's Mass, and in the Byzantine Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, the Beatitudes can form a part of the liturgy itself in the place of the third antiphon, however, I still wish to share a clip from one of my favourite films on the life of Christ, Franco Zeffirelli's, Jesus of Nazareth. In that film, there is a particularly moving scene -- of many moving scenes -- where the Sermon on the Mount is acted out in part.

Those of you who have a copy of the Catena Aurea or the Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers may wish to read the commentaries of the various of the Fathers of the Church on these passages.

I mentioned above that within the Byzantine liturgy, the Beatitudes can form a part of the liturgy itself in the place of the third antiphon. Here is an example of this.

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