In the Gospel today Jesus delivers the Sermon on the Mount , beginning with the Beatitudes. Through these he is enlarging our view of the world. We live in a world captivated by bad news. Bad news travels fast. If all goes well, we have little to say, but when things go wrong, we have lots to talk about, to interpret, to speculate about, to embellish details. Whole careers are built out of scandals. There was bad news in Jesus’ time too; corrupt judges, quarrels over estates, prostitution, theft , embezzlement, murders. All of these made their way into Jesus’ stories.
Against this, Jesus climbs the mountain, takes us with him, and says that there are things going on that show God’s kingdom is at work. We should look not just at the arrogant, but at those who appreciate their need of God;. Don’t just look at the glib, but at those who appreciate the reality of sin in our world. Don’t just look at the pompous, but the humble, the realists who really know who they are. Look at those who thirst for holiness, who show compassion. Look at people who are motivated by the Gospel; look at the peacemakers among us, they are the real hope of the world. They are “instruments of the kingdom,” In a world of scandals, there is good news among us.
From the mountain of the Beatitudes, Jesus calls us to look beyond the scandals to see that the energy, the hope, the power of the kingdom are also at work in our world; often in places and people who we don’t notice. These are the remnant of whom Zephaniah speaks in the first reading; those who are doing God’s will and God’s work every day.