January 29, 2023

Today’s gospel is described by Pope Francis: ‘This is the new law, the one we call “the Beatitudes.” It’s the Lord’s new law for us’ (February 2016).

It highlights attitudes of the heart rather than just a set of rules to be followed.

We do not stay just with the words of Jesus. His life and teaching was a commentary on this sermon. Jesus invites us to watch how the sermon is lived out in his life. All the qualities – being poor in the spirit, able to mourn our losses and work for peace – are qualities of the human person. This is how we know our need for God, our need for each other. Even in his risen life he was the humble one who could listen to the doubts of his disciples and guide them to further faith, each in his or her own way.

The church is called to live these qualities, which lead us to the compassion of Jesus and to bring compassion in our lives. Compassion and understanding come from listening deeply to others, especially their joys and sorrows.

Compassion also grows in prayer – by asking for it, and by watching the compassion of Jesus in his life.

Someone working with young people once said that ‘an ounce of compassion is worth a ton of exhortation.’ Marriage, friendship and family life are all enriched by the quality of compassionate listening.

Some time today notice now you are feeling:
share that with Jesus in prayer.
Notice too how these feelings affect
how you are with others during the day.
Thank you, Lord, for your compassion for me in all times of my life.

Donal Neary SJ