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“Blessed are the Merciful, for They Shall Obtain Mercy” (Matthew 5:7)

+Fr. George Konstantopoulos, St. Andrews - South Bend, IN | May 8, 2020

fr_george In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

My beloved brothers and sisters in our Risen Christ,

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

Our personal encounter with our Risen Lord and Savior throughout the Lenten season but especially throughout Great and Holy Week and His triumphal Resurrection, we are filled with uncontainable joy and peace.

Our spiritual journey, however, continues to reach the glorious Pentecost at which time we will celebrate the descend of God the Holy Spirit and the bestowing of the fullness of the grace upon His holy Disciples.

On the way there we ought to recall Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and specifically His Beatitudes.  Our Holy Orthodox Church considers them as the most concise summary of the spiritual life of man.  Each beatitude reveals how to be blessed.  “Blessed” means more than happiness.  It implies the enviable state of those who are in God’s heavenly Kingdom. I would like to focus on one particular Beatitude which is “Blessed are the merciful, for they will obtain mercy” (vs. 7).  Mercy has many different forms and many spiritual dimensions.

Firstly, mercy reveals the compassion of God toward man.  In the Holy Scripture it states, “He shall receive blessing from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation” (Psalm 24:5).  Therefore, every form of God’s righteousness to man is a form of mercy and love for him, after all the Lord was “led like a lamb to the slaughter” (Isaiah 53:7) and died for us on the Cross.

Secondly, mercy is also the just response of the struggling Christian believer toward God.  Furthermore, we must be “careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us, that will be our righteousness” (Deut. 6:25).  The mercy of God will be with each and every one of us if we adhere to His commandments as He gave them to us.

Thirdly, mercy is the actual and pure compassion of the Christian believer towards his fellow man, including his enemy.  It is, too, our active support for our fellow man, not only materially but also spiritually.  It is not enough to provide our fellow man with funds, clothes, food, and other necessary material things, but also to develop a true loving relationship with them.  To be merciful means to have compassion for one’s enemy and to be willing to forgive them. It is to say sincerely, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matthew 6:12).

Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ in His Sermon on the Mount teaches us the importance of three virtues, mercy, fasting, and prayer as the pillars of the genuine Christian life and that “in secret.”  Jesus emphasizes the importance “that your charitable deed may be in secret; and that your Father Who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly” (Matthew 6:4).

Our Lord also reminds us how to pray.  “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites…when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly” (Matthew 6:5-6).

Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!

With agape in Our Risen Lord,

+ Father George D. Konstantopoulos

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