Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 14, 2010
(Luke 6:17, 20 – 26)
On this Sunday prior to our annual observance of Lent, we are asked to reflect on the Beatitudes as they are recorded for us in the Gospel of Saint Luke.
But at first reading these teachings of Christianity seem not at all possible to follow. In fact, the Beatitudes seem to be a mistranslation of the text. For how else are we to make sense of Jesus calling “blessed” those who are poor, those who are hungry, those who weep and those who are persecuted?
The answer to this puzzle is to be found both in the true identity of Christianity and in His Mission. Jesus Christ is the Incarnate Word; he is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus of Nazareth is God and as such, He is inviting us to a radical re-examination and a radical re-evaluation of what might be called “conventional wisdom.”
Poverty, hunger, sorrow and suffering are considered moral evils to be avoided at all costs. But Christianity has come to establish a “new kingdom”, a new “wisdom”; the “wisdom of the Gospel.”
In the Kingdom of God, in the plan of Divine Providence, all suffering, moral and physical, all paradox and contradiction are to be seen in the light of the cross of Christianity. Therefore, what was, in the past something to be avoided or simply “endured”, is now to be seen as an invitation to participate in the redemption of Jesus Christ; as an opportunity for personal holiness and sanctification.
This is the true meaning of the Sermon on the Mount; the true meaning of the Beatitudes.
May the Holy Season of Lent, which we will begin on Wednesday with the Imposition of Ashes, be a period of Grace and holiness for each one of us.
May the Graces we receive enable us to accept and to live the Beatitudes as the new Evangelical Wisdom of our time.