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The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

February 16, 2019

Alleluia, Alleluia.

Rejoice and be glad,

your reward will be great in Heaven.

Alleluia, Alleluia.

.

A Reading from the holy Gospel according to St. Luke 6:17, 20-26

Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.  And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. 

Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!  Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.  For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.

But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.  Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry.  Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep.  Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

THE GOSPEL OF THE LORD

REFLECTION by Monsignor Joseph Marino

This weekend the Liturgy of the Word begins with a firm warning and a strong encouragement from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah: Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings …. Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.

Everyone needs to be encouraged to trust and hope in the Lord above all else, and above everyone else!  So many responsibilities and desires make demands on our time and resources.  Therefore, each day we need to root ourselves in God’s Word that encourages us to trust and hope in God alone.

Last week our Gospel contained these words from Jesus: Put out into deep water …. and Do not be afraid.  We can follow the exhortation of Jesus to adventure into the world of deep water with its uncertainty and potential danger not under our own power but only with Jesus who assures us of his powerful protection which dispels all our fear.

In today’s Gospel Jesus proclaims anew the heart and attitude of God. Unlike the Gospel according to Matthew Jesus does not ascend a mountain to give his sermon but firmly stands on a stretch of level ground to teach the people.  In this position Jesus looks directly into the eyes and hearts of all those who draw near including ourselves.

Jesus rightly assumes the position of Divine Teacher and reveals the very essence of God’s heart.  Jesus gives us the Beatitudes, the blessed and holy attitude of God. The Beatitudes of God are to become the attitude of our being, the foundation of our life.  Jesus assures us that our Heavenly Father keeps always in His loving care those who are poor; those who are hungry; and those who weep.  And, in turn Jesus assures his followers that the kingdom of God will be theirs, and they will be satisfied and comforted.

The Beatitudes are not fanciful wishes on our part; these Beatitudes are rooted in the heart of God — God’s way of seeing and acting.  When we embrace the Beatitudes and believe in the promises they contain we can become the one identified by Prophet Jeremiah: Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord … he is like a tree planted beside the waters … it fears not the heat  … its leaves stay green … it bears fruit!

To trust in the Beatitudes of God is far superior to any man-conceived advice —  Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours; Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.  This does not refer to only the economically poor, and does not exclude the economically rich.  This poverty is a humility and recognition that all true security and peace is in God alone.  Only God can satisfy the human heart — all hearts will remain restless until they rest in God alone.  To trust in God is to even now live in God’s kingdom.  And, in God’s eternal kingdom there will be no more weeping; there will be only the peace and happiness that God alone can give.

However, the Gospel message does not promise us a rose garden now.  The disciple will be ridiculed by people who live a false life of self-reliance, who trust only in their own strength.  Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.  But Jesus encourages and promises us: Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!  Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. 

Disciples believe the words of Jesus because they have confidence in the Providence of God.  When one surrenders to God, He is like a tree planted near running water that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade (Responsorial Psalm 1).  Rejoice and leap for joy…. your reward will be great in heaven. 

Prosit!

Monsignor Joseph Marino

 

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