Today’s reading is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, found in the Gospel of Matthew. The Beatitudes found here are also found in the Old Testament and in the psalms. They teach us who will find favor with God.

The people whom Jesus calls “blessed” and “happy” are not people we think of as blessed or happy: the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus reverses expectations and points out what true happiness is.

In September, we visited CMMB programs in the highland region of Peru and met Maxima. She and her family have very little. They live without running water or electricity. Like most women in her community, Maxima never had the chance to go to school. She suffers discrimination because of her lack of education and severe poverty. Maxima completed training and became a CMMB community health worker. She is now a leader who helps other mothers in her community.

We asked Maxima, “How do you feel when you are helping other mothers?”

She answered, “I feel happy. At ease. Fulfilled. Hopefully the little I learned will be useful for them too, because being a mother is hard.”

“Blessed” is sometimes translated as happy, fortunate, or favored. We believe that women like Maxima are truly blessed, because their joy comes from helping others. The Beatitudes remind us that our calling is not to be first in this world, but rather to be first in the eyes of God.

Wishing you a week filled with His grace.

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*Today’s reflection is adapted from and inspired by the Loyola Press Sunday Connection.