In arranging his gospel Matthew has gathered much of Jesus’ teaching into blocks of material. The first, and major, block is known as ‘The Sermon on the Mount’ and opens with words of grace and assurance which we read today. We call these verses ‘The Beatitudes’ and they are among the best known and loved sayings of Jesus. And yet their meaning is challenging: what does it mean to proclaim blessing on people who are poor in spirit, meek, mourning or persecuted?

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