Reading: Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. Luke 6:26.
Good morning, happy Wednesday, and many blessings my dear family.
In today’s Gospel (Luke 6:20-26), Jesus tells his disciples: “Blessed are you who are poor. Blessed are you who are hungry. Blessed are you who are weeping. Blessed are you when people hate you, insult you, and denounce your name as evil.” Now honestly ask yourself: do you consider yourself blessed when you experience poverty, hunger, or other trials? Do you feel blessed if someone hates or dislikes you?
I doubt that any of us feel blessed when we have pain, sorrow, loss, and confusion in our lives. It is more likely we may feel cursed or betrayed. We may be sad, afraid, or angry with God. Yet Jesus tells us to rejoice and to leap for joy on that day. He reassures us that we will have a great reward in heaven. However, this assurance most likely will not ease the pain, the sorrow, or the suffering we may be experiencing.
Jesus then continues with the “woes.” He says: “Woe to the rich, you have received your consolation. Woe to you whose bellies are filled, you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now; you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when people speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the prophets in this way.”
It is easy to take our blessings for granted until the difficult times come, and we begin to experience the woes of life. Now take a moment and ask yourself: Do you consider it a blessing when you are hungry for love, joy, hope, companionship, spiritual nourishment? Or at these times do you feel abandoned by God or angry with Jesus? During painful and difficult times, it is almost natural to lose sight of the many ways we also are blessed. If we are struggling and in pain, our focus immediately shifts to the difficult or the frightening aspects of life.
Each of the Beatitudes describes a human condition from which we would want to move along, yet Jesus proclaims them as states of blessing. I notice what it is in me that causes me to hurry by poverty, hunger, or mourning. I ask Jesus to help me to look again that I may see what grace is present despite appearances.
God’s mercy means doing justice for the poorest and the most humiliated. Jesus meets families on his travels who are barely surviving and are defenseless against powerful landowners. We too see poor and powerless people today. Are we, his followers, defenders of the poor?
What meaningful action will I do today to bring a smile to the lips of someone who is poor or broken? Christian living is neither an armchair occupation nor a spectator sport. We were called not to contemplate but rather to contemplate and change our lives and this world.