This coming Sunday’s sermon is built on the final beatitude in Matthew 5. A pertinent quote comes from Abuna Elias Chacour, the now retired 80-year-old archbishop of the Melkite Catholic Church in Israel. He is a Palestinian Christian, and a Galilean, having been brought up in the vicinity of Jesus’s upbringing. He is also an expert in Aramaic as well as other languages of
biblical texts. He probably has a closer understanding of the language Jesus spoke than anyone alive today. So, I’ll be quoting Chacour when I ask, “How could I go to a persecuted young man in a Palestinian refugee camp, for instance, and say, ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’, or ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’? That man would revile me, saying neither I, nor my God understood his plight, and he would be right.” His interpretation may help us pry open a deeper understanding of this blessing than we’ve ever had. I hope you’ll share the Word with me Sunday.