Thursday, February 08, 2007

Blessed are you... Woe to you...

This Sunday’s Gospel is 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.”
Jesus taught with authority. Nothing indicates that more than the blessing and woe section of the Sermon on the Plain. It recalls the Old Testament prophets. Jesus thunders the truth with promises of blessing and judgment. The four blessings are followed by four parallel woes. God does not always see things as we do. He looks at the heart, not at externals. He gives promises for those who enter into grace humbly, while warning of judgment for those who remain callous.

The woes also reflect prophetic tradition. A woe warns of condemnation. Here Jesus addresses the judgment of God to the callous. The lack of a genuine spiritual dimension in their life is seen in the comparison Jesus makes between them and the false prophets. For those who do not engage God on the divinity's terms there looms nothing but the terrible expectation of a day of reckoning. The world's values are not God's values. God's blessing can be found in surprising places.

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3 Comments:

Blogger gabdandie said...

This couldn't have come at a more perfect time. It must be very consoling to you.

1:19 PM  
Blogger Hebdomadary said...

You never hear much about the warnings which follow the Beatitudes (though anyone who reads them from scripture can't help noticing them!). But what would their descriptive name be? Can anyone tall me what would be the opposite of a "Beatitude?" Like some of Jesus' other "hard sayings," they should be published more often on their own!

7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You never hear much about the warnings which follow the Beatitudes"

Notice how David Haas hasn't written any easy-listenin' ballad with those words?

Wouldn't fit in very well with the self-esteem seminar the Mass has become in many places.

(Save the liturgy, save the world...)

11:53 AM  

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