Blessed are you when people hate you on account of the Son of man. Rejoice and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. Luke 6:23
you challenge the powers that rule this world
and you show favour to the oppressed:
instil in us a true sense of justice,
that we may discern the signs of your kingdom
and strive for right to prevail;
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
- Jeremiah 17:5-10
- Psalm 1
- 1 Corinthians 15:12-20
- Luke 6:17-26
- Genesis 45:3-11, 15
- Psalm 37:1-11, 40-41
- 1 Corinthians 15:35-50
- Luke 6:27-38
A Thought to Ponder
Epiphany 6 – Luke 6:17-26
“Blessed are you who are poor … but woe to you who are rich …”
In Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks of “Beatitudes,” but in Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, Jesus drops a series of bombshells. He takes the accepted standards of the times and turns them upside down: To those who are considered the “haves” of society, Jesus warns “Woe to you!” – wealth and power are not the stuff of the kingdom of God; but to the “have nots,” Jesus says, “Happy and blessed are you” – love, humble selflessness, compassion and generosity are the treasure of God’s realm.
In Luke’s Gospel, the “blessed” are those who see beyond their own needs and wants in the present moment to work for a better future not only for themselves but for others — but “woe” to those, Jesus warns, who seek their own “fill” now with no concern for the future or for others.
This will be a constant theme throughout Luke’s Gospel: Jesus teaches that wealth and power are not the stuff of the reign of God, but humility, selflessness and compassion are the treasures of God’s kingdom.
In the Sermon on the Plain, Jesus challenges us to put aside the “woe” of self-centredness and embrace the “blessedness” that can only be experienced by seeing ourselves not as the centre of the world but as a means for transforming the world for the “blessedness” of all.
Luke’s version of the Beatitudes challenges everything our consumer-oriented society holds dear. While wealth, power and celebrity are the sought-after prizes of our world, the treasures of God’s reign are love, humble selflessness, compassion, and generosity. In freeing ourselves from the pursuit of the things of this world, we liberate ourselves to seek the lasting things of God.
To be among the “blessed” envisioned by Jesus means to put aside our own poverty and hunger and our own positions and reputations to extend the compassion of Jesus to others; to provide, regardless of the cost, safe places for the lost to return, the grieving to mourn, to the wounded to heal.
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