Gospel Reflection on Matthew 5:1-12 by Justin Matuszewski

During my freshman year at DePaul, I had the opportunity to go on a service immersion trip to New Orleans. One of the best parts of the trip was staying with the Daughters of Charity. The three amazing women opened their homes to us and truly changed my life. One of the sisters I met on the trip was Sister Claire. One evening she told me a story I will never forget. Sister Claire told me that when she is on the train, she likes to look around the car and meditate on each person. Taking a moment, she stops and looks at each person. She recognizes their story, God’s love for them, and the fact they were made in the image and likeness of God.

In today’s reading from the Gospel of Matthew, we hear the Beatitudes. Also known as the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus fulfills the promises God made to Abraham in the Hebrew Scriptures. Throughout the Sermon, we hear Jesus mention all sorts of different people in the world. The poor, mourning, meek, hungry, merciful, pure, peacemakers, persecuted. All of these people are different. They have different stories, weaknesses, and strengths. They all have different goals, challenges, and life experiences. Yet, Jesus calls them all blessed. Despite their differences, Christ calls them to himself and shows them his love.

I think Sister Claire’s train exercise and the Beatitudes have a lot in common. What would our world look like if we looked at everyone in our society and considered them blessed? One of the great Vincentian values is recognizing human dignity, but I feel like we often forget that those around us were also made by God. If we look at people the way God looks at people, we can see the light and not the darkness. When treating others as a blessed daughter or son of God we will show them the love that Christ shows us every day. Instead of anger, there is only love, and not just any love, the love that Jesus showed us when he extended his arms on the cross.