Bulletin: February 17, 2019
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Congratulations! Welcome to the Kingdom! Rejoice and leap for joy! Sounds a little like Easter, doesn’t it? Well, in a very real way, it is. This Sunday, the scriptures remind us that we are blessed and beloved, especially when we have difficulties and don’t feel especially blessed. Jesus reminds us that God blesses us in our trials, so we should trust in the saving power of God. We are “raised from the dead,” as it were, each time we arise from our hardships. The ultimate proof of all of this is our new life in Christ, who died so that we could be free of sin, and was raised from the dead so that we might all have new life. Wouldn’t that be something? A new life, in which poverty is riches and sadness is transformed into lightness of spirit? It’s a topsy-turvy world, isn’t it? Do you feel blessed today?
Today’s Gospel from Luke is the Sermon on the Plain with the Beatitudes, what we usually think of as the Sermon on the Mount. It seems as though Jesus is congratulating those who would have been considered unfortunate, doesn’t it? The Beatitude statements overturn the concept of “fortunate” in Jesus’ time, naming those who are poor, hungry, mourning, or marginalized as those who should rejoice.
Jesus continues with prophetic and startling “Woe to you!” statements, directed to those usually thought of as blessed. Heavenly reward is not a privilege of the rich and comfortable but a blessing for all who trust in God, whose reward will be great in heaven.
Whom do you trust?
The first reading and the psalm take a somewhat different focus: trust in God, not people or things of this world. One who trusts in God is fortunate, like a plant that produces good fruit, sustained by living waters and currents of grace. “Not so the wicked,” who wither and vanish, blowing away like the illusions of their self-absorption.
Paul, in the second reading, confronts members of the early Christian community of Corinth who were doubting, or devaluing, belief in Jesus’ resurrection and the general resurrection of the dead. Depending on the material world in their spiritual pride, they believed that their righteousness was something they had achieved on their own. They felt self-sufficient, “rich,” not in need of the ongoing saving power of Christ’s resurrection that completes the sacrifice of Good Friday through Easter, which is our true blessing.
So, congratulations! Acknowledging our need for God, we are rich in the Kingdom love of our Father. Our hunger is satisfied by the sustaining nourishment of the Spirit. Our weeping is “turned into dancing” knowing that Jesus is with us in our sorrows, in fact knew them when he walked upon earth. Reasons enough for us to rejoice, always, even when people treat us badly. God’s reward to us is the Kingdom, now and always.
Today’s Readings: Jer 17:5–8; Ps 1:1–2, 3, 4 and 6; 1 Cor 15:12, 16–20; Lk 6:17, 20–26
Copyright © J. S. Paluch C