Sixth Sunday of the Year C: February 13, 2022
Luke 6: 17, 20-26
Fr. John Tran
All three readings this Sunday are filled with contrasts.Each gives us a positive way to go or a negative one:we are either cursed or blessed if we do or believe certain things.We are given a choice on how our lives will be lived out, either for the good or the bad. We need to choose to see as God sees.
In the first reading from Jeremiah, the basic pattern of life for a person who is dedicated to God is given.If we trust only in human beings or trust only in created things, we are barren, that is, we can bring nothing to completion as regards our life in God.We can bring nothing to completion because we cannot really see reality, but only what the human eye can see.We fall short of opening our hearts and reaching out to God or to our brothers and sisters.If we trust only in ourselves, our vision is very narrow;we are like a horse with blinders on so that he can see neither to the right or to the left.Jeremiah says that the unfulfilled person like a barren bush “that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.”But if we trust in God, because God is in us, we are able to rise above the salt waste to the unending source of water and flourish even in that seeming waste land.
In the Gospel, Luke give contrasts between those who choose God and his way and those who choose only the values of this world.Jesus goes straight to the point:“Blessed are the poor, the kingdom of God is yours.Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be satisfied.”If you weep, you will laugh;if you are hated due to the name of the Son of Man, Jesus, rejoice because your joy will be great in heaven.This sounded like crazy talk to Jesus hearers, and if we think about it, these are crazy ideas for us today.The words shocked Jesus hearers;they are used to thinking that advancing in wealth and position are signs of God’s blessing.These words of Jesus were very radical indeed.
Today Jesus might say to us, ‘blessed are the homeless, the migrant workers, the minimum wage workers, the elderly on small incomes, all of these have the kingdom of God, they will be satisfied, they will laugh;rejoice, their reward will be great in heaven.’We really don’t want to hear words like that.We are comfortable and do not want to be disturbed.We certainly do not think that Jesus condemnations apply to us:“woe to you who are rich...who laugh now,”who are well thought of, because you will be hungry, will grieve.That is why today is the day to take these words to heart and ask:Do I make the best use of my resources;Do I give material or spiritual assistance to the homeless, underpaid workers, the elderly who find it hard to live?Do I visit those in need with something they need and offer my prayers and my friendship?Do I notice when there is need around me and try of be of help or contact those who can?Lent is getting closer every day;there is no better time to be active Christians than during Lent.Maybe I do not have that much myself, but there is something I can do.
The second reading brings all this into perspective.Paul asks us if we really believe in Jesus Christ.The point Paul is making is that there are some believers who doubt that we rise from the dead after death.If we deny the resurrection, then, our whole faith is a joke, it means nothing because the basis of it all, is that Jesus did rise from the dead, and so saved us all.But, we cannot just say I will rise from the dead when I die and live like I want to in the present.We have to put on Christ every day andbe Christ to those who make up our daily existence.We actually proclaim with our bodies and our actions that Christ is risen and among us today.
As St. Paul says, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead,the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.”We are the present produce or harvest;we do not have life in Christ for ourselves only.If we think we do, then we are the rich and well-thought-of, that Jesus spoke about today instead of other Christs who rise everyday.It is a matter of who we fall in love with.Are we in love with ourselves, with some material things, with a position, or with the Lord and all the people that then includes?
Sometime before she died, someone had the audacity to ask St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa), “Why do you spend so much energy on the poor, the hungry, and the weeping of those in Calcutta?” She responded, “Jesus says the poor are the blessed ones. I take him at his word. I treat them as the royalty of God’s kingdom, because they are.” — To grow into becoming a Christian is, in no small part, to be converted into seeing the world as God sees it. It is to be given new eyes to look upon people and events from an eternally loving perspective. When that begins to happen, we begin to see that God has definite ideas about how life should be lived, what Churches should be doing, and how people should act. We begin to see that the future belongs to those whom God blesses. They include the poor, the hungry, the hopeless, the damaged, and those whose only salvation is found in the God who comes to redeem.This is to see as God sees.