He came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea, Jerusalem, and the coast of Tyre and Sidon.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. “Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The Oscars are next Sunday! I love the Academy Awards. They give us a chance to recall the outstanding films of last year. My favorite was a documentary called “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” It’s a moving portrait of the television personality Fred Rogers, who inspired generations of children, like me, with his imagination and compassion for others.
“Mister Rogers” was my first encounter with a truly Christ-like teacher. A recent critic noticed how he moved us, gently and liturgically, through his home. Each episode included an “opening greeting, invocations of friends and family, followed by a physical movement through the set’s spaces. In the kitchen, Rogers might learn from a friend how to make paper hats. He concluded where he started, changing back into street clothes and singing a dismissal, with a last spoken note on the value of caring for others, followed by a song.”
This film reminded me how grateful I am for early faith teachers like Fred Rogers. He helped me to feel what the warm welcome, friendly smile and kind voice of Christ might have been like. I use all that to imagine Jesus speaking today’s Sermon on the Plain, the sum of his ethical teachings. We’re told in John 7:46, “No man ever spoke like this Man!”
How might the voice of Jesus have sounded to our ears had we stood with him on that “level place” long ago? Try to imagine him speaking the words to you that Fred Rogers often sang for his audience at home: “It’s you I like!”
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently finishing his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like
Every part of you.
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself
It’s you I like.
—Written by Fred M. Rogers, 1971
Please share the Good Word with your friends!