Gospel Reflection Feb 17 – Deacon Frank
February 17, 2019
Sunday, February 17
Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.”
Every red-blooded American believes in freedom of choice and the gifts of life, liberty and the pursuit happiness. Thanks to leaders such as those we will honor on Presidents Day weekend, we are proud to declare : “I can do what I want; it’s a free country.” This weekend’s Gospel reminds us that all choices are not the same. Some bring us blessing and some bring us woe.
When you go to Mass this weekend you will hear how Jesus inaugurated his ministry in the Gospel of Luke with a Sermon on the Plain, corresponding to the more recognizable Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Jesus begins his discourse with four Beatitudes and four Woes. Jesus has a strange idea of what would lead to blessedness: “Blessed are you who are poor, who are hungry, who weep, who are hated and persecuted.” Jesus also had a strange list of things that would bring woes: riches, having a full stomach, laughter, popularity. Don’t these things constitute the American dream? Jesus promotes a diffrent dream: the kingdom of God, a great reward in heaven.
We are all searching for happiness. Jesus calls us to work with him to build a world of peace and happiness for all. May we pray for the spirit of discernment to help us to recognize the choices we have to make if we are to be the people God wants us to be. Believing in life through death gives us a different way of looking at how we use our freedoms. It means that the American dream may not be the most important thing for us to choose.
Deacon Frank Iannarino