Gospel Reflection Feb 13 – Deacon Frank

Sunday, February 13

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 6: 23ab


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.”

Gospel Reflection:

Adventure films love to place their heroes in impossible situations where they are doomed to fail and die, only for them to overcome all odds and win the day. As a Messiah Jesus was nothing like what his followers initially expected. There was no kingly power, no overthrowing of his enemies, no worldly triumph over evil.

When the Gospels eventually emerged from the faith communities, they sought to give voice through Jesus’ teaching to the difference between a God’s-eye view of human affairs and human perspective. This weekend we hear Luke’s Beatitudes, from the “Sermon on the Plain”. They are far more concrete and starker than those of Matthew where the Beatitudes are from the “Sermon on the Mount”.

Matthew’s version allows for spiritual interpretation, while Luke looks at the lived reality of the first followers of Jesus. They are mostly poor, outcast and without security. Faith in Jesus does not save them from persecution or death. It does not make them rich, powerful, or successful. However much we know this, we are often still tempted to think of Christianity as something safe and respectable. We try to tame the message of the Gospel and cut it down to fit our size.

The Gospel this weekend contains a strong challenge. Luke’s Beatitudes are tough, as faith itself is tough. The life of faith stands in radical contrast to the values of this world. Reliance on the world’s values – whether of strength, security, wealth, or reputation – is shown to be pointless and ultimately empty. Faith, hope and love are not easy virtues, but they are the foundational graces offered to any followers of Christ. If we take the risk of faith, hope, and love we can find something greater than we can ever imagine. This is God’s free gift, but it is our own choice whether we accept it.

Deacon Frank Iannarino