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All Saints …. including Pharisees?

This year, Matthew’s famous opening to the Sermon on the Mount, known as The Beatitudes, got omitted from the cycle of Sunday gospel readings, because it was displaced by Candlemass. What a pity, given that this passage takes prime place in Matthew’s presentation of Jesus as teacher and disciple-maker. It is his most important statement of what it means to participate in the Kingdom of Heaven, and hence the whole point of his gospel. Not to worry! We get to hear it again, on All Saints Sunday this year, and next year again for good measure. The only downside might be that we get the impression that its teachings are ideals for “the saints” (that is, someone else) rather than a call to discipleship for us all. To hear my detailed take on this, you might just go back to my video for Ordinary Sunday 4.

Given that I have already produced that treatment of the Beatitudes in general, I thought that rather than retracing that ground for All Saints Sunday, I might do something more creative, name to consider it in the light of another text from Matthew’s gospel, the one for Ordinary Sunday 31 … that’s right, the one displaced by All Saints Sunday. Is that turning the tables, or what? Listen to it here if you would like to consider whether Matthew leaves any room for us to think that at least some of the Pharisees might be potential Saints…

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