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Bulletin: February 13, 2022

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Today we hear once again of the deep connection between Jesus and Israel's prophets. In the reading from Jeremiah, God's curses at the opening are counterbalanced by God's blessings in the second part. In Luke's version of the Beatitudes, Jesus begins with blessings, then counterbalances with a "woe" section. The point is clear: the way we live our lives has a direct connection to whether we will experience curses and woes, or blessings instead. Of course, being among God's blessed ones (in Latin, beati, from which "beatitudes" comes) doesn't necessarily mean a life free of woe. Jesus, in his fully human nature, knew this. He also knew that when we seek happiness through our own devices, and trust only in ourselves, the woes are guaranteed to come. Let us follow the wisdom of Jeremiah and Jesus, along with the opening of the book of Psalms (echoed by Jeremiah today): "blessed are the ones who trust in the Lord."


There are times when the smartest, but most difficult, thing we can say is, "I don't know." While we often think of this as a sign of weakness, the amount of humility it takes to say this means that the word of God is alive and well in us. To say "I don't know" means that we look outside of ourselves to learn, and to find those who do know, and--ultimately--accept that we have to look to others and to God to help us, to guide us through life. To place our trust and hope only in this world, Paul tells the Corinthians (and us!), makes us people to be pitied. Jesus echoes this in the "woes" section of Luke's Beatitudes, when he points out that trusting in earthly wealth, full bellies, entertainments, and reputation will, eventually, not be enough when we are called beyond this life.


Prior to delivering the blessings and woes of his "Sermon on the Plain" in Luke, Jesus had been on top of a mountain in prayer, after which he selected the Twelve to go on his mission with him. Coming down from the mountain, the first thing Jesus does is show them what is at the heart of his--and their--mission: preaching to the multitude, healing all who were in need of it, no matter where they had come from. Luke then carefully notes that Jesus raises his eyes, not to look toward heaven again in prayer, but he raises his eyes to look directly at his disciples, to share the message of blessings and woes. This scene echoes Moses coming down from the mountain to give Israel its command as to how they should live in God's covenant. As followers of Jesus today, we are called to live out his mission to the world, while we also look beyond this world to trust in God, our only hope.

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