With today’s readings, we begin the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) It is the first of the five great proclamations of Jesus in Matthew’s gospel, and is the beginning of Discipleship 1.0. When Jesus speaks of the reign of God, he names its characteristics and results for people here in the Beatitudes. The lectionary does not finish the Sermon on the Mount because Lent begins on March 1, Ash Wednesday. Commentaries on the Beatitudes abound. In this first teaching on discipleship, the overall focus is on the diminishment and erasure of the self. The Greek verb σμικροζω means “to make one’s self small”. In a society of inflated egos, Jesus presents an enormous challenge. Jesus emptied himself of his divinity to become human, and even of our humanity be dying on the cross as a criminal. To make one’s self small is also to move to the margins and to dwell in the company of the “small.” Jesus often refers to these “little ones”, and not all time about children.
OT 4 A Lectionary Catechesis