February 2, Matthew 5:1-12
The Sermon on the Mount
Jesus goes to the mountaintop to teach about true happiness. The author of today’s Gospel shows Jesus to be the new Moses, giving people the new commandments from the mountaintop.
Jesus begins each statement of the new law with “Blessed are…” The first four commandments state that the little ones who suffer are “blessed” in God’s kingdom. The next four highlight those who work to bring about the kingdom of God. The happiness that Jesus teaches about in the Sermon on the Mount comes from loving God and others.
• Why are the “blessed” happy?
• What does Jesus teach about happiness?
• What does Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount teach us?
February 9, Matthew 5:13-16
Love one another
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus tells his followers to let their light shine. By following Jesus’ new commandment to love one another, the disciples will bring light into the darkness. Their love and goodness help to change the world.
The call to be the light of the world found in today’s passage includes the task of caring for the poor. When we help those in need, we allow God’s love to shine.
God’s love changes the world. Followers of Jesus are called to spread the light of God’s love and make the world a better place.
• How do people who help the poor let their light shine?
• How can you let your light shine?
• Where do you see signs that people are following Jesus’ commandment to love one another?
February 16, Matthew 5:17-37
Freedom: A gift to be used wisely
God’s wisdom has been established from the beginning. The Holy Spirit energises the believer. By the grace of God’s love, the Spirit illumines and reveals that wisdom to us.
Moses received the Commandments from God. In the person of Jesus, the Mosaic Law is fulfilled. We have a new teacher, the Lord, who instils within us the New Law, the Law of Love.
• Are all laws important in the same way? Why or why not?
• What are some examples?
• What makes laws important?
• What happens when we don’t follow laws?
February 23, Matt 5:38-48
A Universal Calling
Similar to Leviticus, this portion of Jesus’ teaching stresses that our relationships are constitutive of our sharing in the holiness of God. Jesus upholds social justice and limits retaliation. He goes further and demands love for enemies, referring to the image of a God whose sun shines upon good and bad alike.
• What surprises you about this passage?
• What do you think it means that Christians are to “be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect”? (Matthew 5:48)
• Do you need to change, to follow Jesus’ way?