All SAINTS’ DAY November 3, 2019
1 Seeing the crowds, [Jesus] went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
11 Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
In the Name of Jesus.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
To be poor, destitute, to have nothing of your own. To stand as one only to be given to.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who stand before God with nothing to claim, only to be given to, and who then find the God before whom they stand is he who is on his way to the cross.
There he will stand before men to be judged, stand before them as one who is claims nothing on his own, and they will give him the one thing they have to give. They will give him their sin, their death, their judgement. He will take that judgment, in order to say to us, By the blood of my cross, you are blessed, you are of the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. What is this comfort?
“Comfort, comfort, my people,”
the Lord spoke by the prophet Isaiah.
“Comfort, comfort my people,
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
cry out to her that her warfare is ended,
that her iniquity is pardoned,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.”
Blessed are those, then, who mourn their sin, who see no escape, who find themselves in warfare unwinnable.
Jesus as he speaks the blessing is on his way to the cross, and those who belong to him, they are his Jerusalem, his Church, they are pardoned, they receive from the Lord’s hand every good gift in double measure, and in every guilt, they are comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth.
The meek, this speaks not of some delicate nature or wimpiness, but of the Son of God riding into Jerusalem meek and lowly on the back of a donkey, to the cross to give himself over to death for all sinners.
In the way of our world, the Earth is not inherited by the meek. It is owned by those who grasp it with power, by those who conquer its land and control its oceans, by those who tear down others and stab them in the back.
In the way of the cross, the Earth is not controlled but inherited by him who gives himself the ransom for every sinner, and then given by inheritance to those sinners he pardons and cleanses.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Righteousness, that is to be judged innocent by the Father. Righteousness is to be found in fulfillment of the full Law, so that no part of You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind, and you shall love your neighbor as yourself is left unsatisfied.
He hungered for righteousness, even to the point of death on the cross, so that in that death, every sinner is justified at the face of God the Father.
Having given himself on the cross, his Father then gave to him all authority in Heaven and on Earth, the authority to forgive sins and justify the sinner, so that in this authority he gives sinners of all nations to be baptized into the holy Name.
He who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, even to the point of death on the cross, he is given all authority of salvation, and he is satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Mercy is to judge another not by the demands of the Law, but by the overflowing grace of the Gospel.
The Law is retribution. It accuses—the sinner is condemned. For the Law to have mercy, it would no longer be Law.
Mercy is he who came not to judge, but to be judged, and to give his life the ransom for many.
Mercy is for the judge to give his verdict not on account of what is deserved, but on account of the free gift, of the promise.
Mercy is for the eternal judge to give not the hammer of the Law, but himself on the cross on behalf of the sinner.
He is merciful. A mercy shown to us in such a way it makes us people of mercy, receiving mercy from one another.
He is merciful, with a mercy forgiving our sins and, in forgiving our sins, gathering us into his courtroom not to accuse one another at the face of the judge, but to speak to one another in his words of mercy, comforting one another in the Gospel, addressing one another as those belonging to mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
The heart is not pure. The heart is concerned with self and filled with lustful desires. From the heart comes that which defiles. Matthew 15:19:
That which comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.
But he who has a pure heart is found hanging on the cross. He is found shedding the blood to cleanse our hearts. Psalm 51:
Hide your face from my sins, [O God,]
And blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart.
He who has a pure heart has given himself on the cross to cleanse every heart, so that as we see his shedding of blood on the cross, as we drink his blood as he gives us to do for the cleansing of our hearts, we look upon him, and we see the face of God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Peace made between God and the sinner at the reconciliation of the cross; peace among sinners by the speaking of the reconciliation of the cross; he is the peacemaker between God and man, between man and man, the Son of God, sent to save those at enmity with his Father.
He is the Son of God, and all those baptized into him and his peace, they have been made children of God.
This word of blessing—this word of the blessing of those who are poor in spirit, but who receive every good gift from the Father; of those who mourn in this world of sin, but who are comforted by the Word of promise and life; those who are meek and afflicted but who inherit the Earth—this blessing will be rejected by our world.
By everything our world can see, the Earth is inherited by power and grasping, not by gift to those who in their sin are emptied out.
The world is inherited by those who force their own way, by those who demand that everything be done right, or they will hold others under the accusation of the Law—by everything our world can see, things must be held under the Law, and anything not held under the Law, must be reviled and persecuted and have all kinds of evil uttered against it.
In his Word of blessing, Jesus creates us as the people not under the Law, but under the promise, the Gospel. Matthew 5:12:
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
In the Name of Jesus.