6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6, (40:5a)
1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20
Luke 6:17, 20-26
February 13, 2022
In this gospel passage Jesus begins his Sermon on the Plain. The passage is explicit in saying He “stood on a stretch of level ground.” Why does it specify “level ground”?
This is to show that Jesus fulfills prophecies that speak of how the mountains will be made low and the valleys will be filled in. It also leads into a theme evident in Luke’s Beatitudes and throughout the gospel of Luke, “the reversal of fortune.” God will make things right. For example, the hungry will be satisfied and those “who are filled now…will be hungry.”
As we move into Luke’s Beatitudes, we should think about what it means to be “blessed.” Some translations use the word “happy” in place of “blessed,” but I do not think the word “happy” is adequate. It is not just a matter of being happy as in having no concerns or sadness.
To be “blessed” is to be in right relationship with God.
One who is poor understands that something is lacking for them. They open themselves to something more. They can open themselves to the Kingdom of God while the one who is rich may think they already have all they need.
One who is hungry longs for something more. They look for what will truly fulfill them. They look for God. One who thinks they are filled now does not open themselves to what God offers.
One who weeps at bad things will find good things in Heaven.
Being a Christian is not easy. It can lead to people hating us, such that they exclude and insult us. What does Jesus say about this? When we are hated “on account” of our faith in Jesus, we are “blessed.” If people exclude for our faith, it shows that we are truly living our faith. It is not us they reject. It is God they reject.
Are you among those who are “blessed” or are you among those who will experience “woe”?
Not everyone who shows up in church is necessarily a disciple. As Jesus began to preach on “level ground,” there was “a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people.” The “and” indicates that there were people there who were not his disciples. Perhaps they would become disciples but just being there did not make them disciples.
There is always both people who follow God and those who do not. Jeremiah frequently experienced this as a prophet. In today’s first reading he speaks of the “cursed” and the “blessed.”
The “cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert.” We should be able to trust human beings but not instead of the Lord. To be our trust in human beings and flesh over the Lord is to turn “away from the Lord.” To choose to live as others do instead of living according to the Lord’s way is to turn “away from the Lord.” This is not a good choice.
Rather, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. He is like a tree planted besides the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. It fears not the heat…in the year of drought it shows no distress.”
The water? The water is the waters of Baptism. It is the living waters of the Holy Spirit.
When we live in faith and trust in Jesus Christ, when we drink the waters of the Holy Spirit our problems don’t go away but the Lord does walk with us. We do not need to fear the heat. We need not distress. We may suffer but the Lord is with us.
Are you led by the world or by faith?
Our faith is not set by a human vote of what people want. The teaching of our faith is not founded on human thought. It comes to us through the Church but it is determined by God. Trust in God.
The very first verse of the first psalm is “Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked.” Rather, we should delight “in the law of the LORD.” We should not take the “law” for granted. As the first psalm continues, we should meditate on the law day and night.
What does it mean to “meditate” on the law of the Lord?
It is to constantly open ourselves to the Lord speaking to us of how He calls us to live. We are humans. We do not know everything but we can always strive to learn and better live the ways of the Lord.
“Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”