FIRST READING
God comforts us that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.
The beginning of the second Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 1:1-7)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation, and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken; for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

The word of the Lord.

RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 34:2-3.4-5.6-7.5-9 (R. 9a)
R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

I will bless the Lord at all times,
praise of him is always in my mouth.
In the Lord my soul shall make its boast;
the humble shall hear and be glad. R.

Glorify the Lord with me;
together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
from all my terrors he set me free. R.

R/. Taste and see that the Lord is good.

Look towards him and be radiant;
let your faces not be abashed.
This lowly one called; the Lord heard,
and rescued him from all his distress. R.

The angel of the Lord is encamped
around those who fear him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good.
Blessed the man who seeks refuge in him. R.

ALLELUIA Matthew 5: 12a
Alleluia. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
Alleluia.

GOSPEL
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 5:1-12)

At that time: Seeing the crowds, Jesus 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.”

The Gospel of the Lord.
 

Today’s Reflection

A bit of background on Paul’s unstable relationship with the Corinthians may deepen our understanding of this letter that we begin today. After living with the Corinthian community for eighteen months, Paul moved to Ephesus where he received a delegation from Corinth reporting divisions within the community, and behavior not in keeping with discipleship. Paul’s first letter was written in response to these reports. When the Corinthians failed to heed his admonitions, he returned to Corinth, but it seems his visit did not go smoothly. The second letter shows Paul’s devotion to the community and his desire that they receive the true message of Christ crucified and risen for them. The Sermon on the Mount is a teaching of freedom combined with responsibility; liberation with challenge. The beatitudes fly in the face of the wisdom of first century Corinth and of 21st century Africa.

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