Jun 6 (Mt 5:1-12)

An owner’s manual is an instructional booklet that is supplied with almost all technologically advanced products such as vehicles, home appliances, computer peripherals etc.
>> It is also called as an instruction manual or a user guide

Information contained in the owner’s manual typically includes:
1. Usage instructions,
2. Safety instructions
3. Assembly and Installation instructions
4.  Maintenance instructions.
5. Troubleshooting instructions
6. Service locations
7. Product technical specifications.
8. Warranty information

These 8 instructions helps the user to make the best use of the product and get the maximum out of it.

Instructional Manuals become guidelines for better usage, greater effectiveness and higher appreciation.

Our Christian spiritual life also needs an Instructional Manual…
… for better fruitfulness
… for greater effectiveness
… for the higher glory of God

The B.I.B.L.E. is sometimes expanded as being “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth”!

The Gospel of the Day – The Eight Beatitudes: one of the most beautiful passages of the B.I.B.L.E. – presents to us a ready reference Instruction Manual with 8 instructions, on how to live as a True Follower of Christ.

The passage begins with the sentence, “Jesus went up to the mountain and SAT DOWN…and HE BEGAN TO TEACH them” (Mt 5:1)

In the Jewish Tradition, the Rabbi (teacher) would sit and teach.
>> The Hebrew word ‘Rabbi’ is derived from “rav”, which means ‘Great One’.

When St Matthew specifically mentions that “Jesus sat down and taught”, Jesus is presented as the Rabbi: The Great One – The Teacher –  who speaks with great authority.

Jesus is the New Moses, who presents the “New Law- the law of Absolute Love!“

What is this teaching of such great authority?
>> It’s a teaching which calls for a reversal of the worldly values!
>> It’s a teaching that turns the worldly standards of greatness upside down!

The world holds in high esteem the aspects of power, prestige, richness and prosperity.
>> The yardstick of greatness of people is very often measured in terms of these external achievements.

But Jesus, the teacher-par-excellence, reverses this false notion of the world…
… And pronounces BLESSEDNESS to the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry and thirsty, the merciful, the clean of heart, the peacemakers and the persecuted ones!

High jumpers while competing with each other, keep raising the bar higher and higher, to achieve victory.
>> Similarly, the Beatitudes that are pronounced by Jesus raises the bar – the standards of Christian life are raised to a great proportion.

All the beatitudes, focus on one aspect: The need to lower oneself and instead to understand that “God alone suffices”!

Very often many questions pop up in our minds…
…. ” Why is my life full of suffering, though I seek to live a genuine life?”,
… ” Why do the unjust prosper, and the people who pursue for justice fail to receive rewards?“
… “Why does success elude me whereas those who adopt wrong means bask in achievements?”

It’s hard to give a downright answer to such questions…
… but the Beatitudes gives us a glimpse into the mind of Jesus: That in all such occasions, our attitude ought to be, ” God alone suffices!”.

“God alone suffices” ought to be our mantra…
… when we find ourselves at the receiving end, even though after having worked hard, we don’t find the expected success
… when we are still subject to persecutions and hardships even though we live in honesty and truthfulness

Of course, this teaching is hard to follow..may even seem impractical…!
>> Yet, we are not alone..
.. Jesus the teacher, Himself is our Model and Example.. He walked the talk!

Hanging on the Cross, Jesus became the epitome of the Beatitudes that He Proclaimed…
… He was the One Who was Poor, Mourning, Meek, Hungry and Thirsty, Merciful, Clean of Heart, Peacemaker and the Persecuted One!

Today let us look to Jesus, the Teacher and the One who lived out the Beatitudes, and make our Christian life more meaningful!

In the words of Fulton Sheen, ” It’s hard to be a Christian… but it’s harder not to be one!”

May the Divine Instructional Manual given by Jesus on the Mount became the pattern for us to lead a Committed Christian Life!

God Bless! Live Jesus!

– Fr Jijo Manjackal msfs
  Bengaluru, India

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