From the Pastor's Desk

     In the 1987 movie, “Moonstruck,” Olympia Dukakis portrays Rose Castarini. She lives with her husband, Cosmo, and daughter Loretta. As she helps her daughter sort through her romantic problems, she becomes aware that her husband is unfaithful to her. One night, while he is with his lover, she goes out for dinner alone. At the restaurant she meets a lonely man. He is taken with her and wants to begin an adulterous affair. Even though her husband has hurt her, she does not act out against her husband. She looks the man in the eye and kindly says, “No. I won’t do that because I know who I am.”            
     “I know who I am.” That statement is at the heart of the scripture lesson today. Even though unpleasant things are taking place right in front of us, can we hold onto our personal dignity?            
     On the evening news, when differences are presented, it seems as though everyone is ready to strike back. That posture only escalates the situation and things become worse.            

     The Installation of Bishop Edward J. Burns as the eighth bishop of the Diocese of Dallas took place on Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.   

     Two weeks ago, we were taught that a light shines in the darkness and it illumines the hearts of God’s people. The light was not the presence of Christ in our world, but the voice of Christ. His preaching was the Divine Light that illuminated people’s hearts and changed their lives.
     Last week, the Light came to us as the Beatitudes. The life changing illumination was that we are blessed not because we are poor, but because the “Kingdom of Heaven” belongs to us. For that reason, we can be poor, because our treasure comes from God. We have the Kingdom of heaven; therefore, we have everything.
     Today, the scriptures tell us that the Light is not only shining on us; it is in us. The light shines whenever we share with others the richness God has bestowed on us.
     Isaiah tells us to share our bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked when we see them and not to turn our backs on our own. In the process of doing that, something miraculous happens to us: “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed.”

     Today, Matthew presents one of the great five theological discourses in his Gospel. Matthew consolidates Jesus most important teachings into five discourses that are presented throughout the Gospel. “The Sermon of the Mount,” or the “Beatitudes” are presented today.
     A long time ago, God spoke to the people from Mount Sinai and gave them the great Covenant. Today, our Lord draws people to a new mountain, but He is not fulfilling the role of the “new Moses.” As the second Person of the Trinity, He is God. From this new mountain, God speaks to His people once again and gives them a way to live their lives in union with Him.
     The Beatitudes have been described as the “Attitudes of True Christians” or as “Rules for Christian Living.” In addition, “beatitude,” is a state of spiritual perfection and closeness to God, which is possible for each of us.