Word to the Wise

Sunday, February 17, 2019 - 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time - C

[Jer 17:5-8; 1 Cor 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26]
"Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you are who now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh........" [Luke]

     These words of Jesus should be familiar to us from the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel According to Matthew.  But these words are not taken from that gospel, but from the Gospel According to Luke.  And they are not spoken on a mountain but on a flat plain!  Furthermore, the "blesseds" are balanced by an equal number of "woes!"  All of this should alert us to something new and not get lost in familiarity!
     One commentator that I once read said that if a survey-taker asked us which we would choose in the two lists in today's gospel, without mentioning the source,  we would all want to be well-off, well-fed, happy and well-thought-of.  But those are the people Jesus warns about putting their trust in such things.  In the first scripture for today, Jeremiah warns us also about putting our primary (or even daily) trust in things human.  
     It can be a humbling exercise to make a list of what or who is most important to us.  Will the "what's" outnumber the "who's?"  And among the "who's," how would we rank them?  Would God make it on the list?  Jesus?  Whom do we trust?  Jesus challenges us to set our sights first on the "kingdom of God," and then we can address not just our needs but also the needs of others.  The kingdom is not an abstraction, it is present in all of us and cries out to us from those who are poor, hungry, weeping and hated.  AMEN

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