A Fresh Start

Submitted by FatherAthanasios on Tue, 06/14/2022 - 07:49

If you have been paying attention to the daily readings since Pascha, you recognized that we were reading the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John. Today we begin a new season in the Church. Today we opened Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans and the Gospel of Matthew, both of which we will read through the summer months. It is so basic, yet it remains one of my favorite aspects of the Church. I so enjoy the allow the seasons of the Church expressed.

As we return to the beginning of the story of Jesus, now from the Evangelist Matthew’s perspective, the first thing we are blessed to hear are the Beatitudes, the “Blessed are…” verses. If we consider the importance of a ‘fresh start’ in our spiritual journey, starting with all the ways we are blessed by God is a good way to start any journey. But, just like other aspects of our spiritual journey, we are not always blessed in the way we expect.

At that time, Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people. So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, and paralytics, and he healed them. And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Dekapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

"Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

"Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

"Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Blessed are you when men 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 men persecuted the prophets who were before you.

"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men."

We are blessed when we struggle for God, not ourselves. It is a good reminder in our modern self-absorbed world. If you want to be blessed, live the Beatitudes, and you will be blessed. It is good advice for a fresh start this summer.

By the way, this is a fast free week in celebration of the coming of the Holy Spirit. We will fast again next week for the Fast of the Holy Apostles.

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