You Are Blessed: 6th Sunday
Sermon by Emmanuel Suntheni – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time –
Sermon And Christian Act In The Word
Theme: You are Μακάριος!, meaning “fortunate, blessed”! Beatitudes are a call to true discipleships and Holiness!
Point of Reflection: The liturgy of this Sunday makes us aware of just how fortunate and privileged we are as believers. We have been taught and enlightened through the divine revelation contained in Scripture and our tradition, regarding our present and our future life. This knowledge provides us with a deep and broad perspective on who we are, and what our destiny is.
But some people have lost hope, especially the youth and they even commit suicide. Frequently we hear about a high suicide rate in modern society, even among young people. Taking one’s life is most often caused by the loss of hope for a better future or a sense of meaninglessness. We may all experience such feelings at times. But today Jesus is telling us that we are blessed. And for that gift of blessedness, we must be daily grateful.
All of us are called to be blessed and holy but to be holy and encounter the Kingdom of God we need to be poor in spirit. Are you poor in Spirit? or have you ever been poor in Spirit? The Psalmist is telling us today that, “the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.”
First Reading: Jeremiah 17:5–8
Psalm: Psalm 1:1–4, 6
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16–20
Gospel: Luke 6:17, 20–26
Sermon (Reflection): In the oracle of today’s first reading from Jeremiah (Cf. Jeremiah 17:5–8), the prophet curses those who put their trust in “mere mortals”, while their hearts “turn away from the Lord”. Seeing how Jehoiakim and his advisers trusted the Egyptians, Jeremiah compared their hopes and efforts to a withering “shrub in the desert”. He knew that their political manoeuvrings were vain and futile because they were not accompanied by a change of heart and a return to God.
Instead of political games and military resistance, Jeremiah recommended turning to God’s law as means for survival.
This is exactly the same that we encounter in the Gospel of today where Jesus Christ is telling his disciples about blessings and curse. If we turn away from the Lord and enjoy the present World because we are rich, then, it’s a curse. But if we follow God’s teaching by being poor in spirit, then, we are blessed, and the Kingdom of God is ours.
Today, we are confronted with two choices: to either choose blessings or curses. Our way of life will determine the choice we have made.
If we have made the right choice, then we will encounter Christ on the resurrection day as St Paul elucidate to us in the second reading of today (Cf. 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16–20). St Paul patiently explains that the resurrection is a fact, and he argues that the risen body is very different from the mortal and corruptible human body. He authoritatively declares that Jesus has been raised from the dead, and his resurrection means that believers will also rise from the dead. Moreover, Christian faith and life make no sense if the dead do not come back to life.
The whole point of the Christian faith is to ensure the continuing existence beyond death in union with God and Jesus, who was the first to rise from the dead. Therefore, Paul argues that Christian life in this world must be lived in the perspective of the life to come. In this way, he aims to motivate the Corinthians to live in their mortal bodies aware that they will be transformed into immortal and risen bodies in the future.
This calls us as Christians to proudly reflect on the Gospel passage of today that we are blessed for the Kingdom of God is ours as Christ is the risen Lord. What else do we need as Christians if is not the blessedness of encountering the Kingdom of God?
Jesus Christ today in the Gospel(Cf. Luke 6:17, 20–26) pronounces four “beatitudes”, or blessings, followed by corresponding four “woes”, or curses. This arrangement creates a clear and striking contrast between those attitudes and actions which secure God’s blessing and those which lead to unhappiness and rejection. As Christian, what do we want in life? Happiness or unhappiness? Blessings or curses? Food for thought! In deepening the reflection of the beatitudes will help us to position ourselves with blessings.
First, the poor are contrasted with the rich. The poor trust and rely on God for everything as they have no human securities to fall back on, while the rich seek security relying on their own resourcefulness and wealth. The hungry are those who experience a lack of basic needs. They are contrasted with those who are full, who enjoy a surplus of goods. Those who weep and experience sorrow are juxtaposed with those who laugh, living a life of enjoyment and pleasure. Finally, the followers of “the Son of Man” – Jesus – suffer rejection and ridicule, while those indifferent or hostile to him and his ways are accepted and approved.
These four stark contrasts compare the situation of Jesus’ followers with those who neither accept him nor follow his teaching. In this world, his followers live an insecure and difficult life, while his opponents enjoy security and stability. But Jesus provides a broader perspective on this entire situation. First, he reveals that his followers are already members of the kingdom of God. Their way of life, despite all the difficulties, enjoys God’s approval, they are blessed. Second, Jesus looks to the future, revealing a great reversal that will take place. Thus, poverty, hunger, morning, and persecution will be turned into the rejoicing and peace of heaven.
As Christians, our decision to follow Jesus may bring great challenges and affliction in the present time, but the ultimate outcome of the choice of Jesus will be a dramatic reversal of their fortunes and the heavenly union with Jesus and God in the future.
Using the beatitudes and the woes Jesus instructs us as his followers to look beyond what we experience in this present and gaze into the future. It is only from that far-reaching perspective that we will be able to fully understand the implications of our decision to follow Jesus Christ. Rejecting him or being indifferent to his teaching might temporarily make life easier or more pleasant. However, only a dedicated commitment to him will lead to lasting happiness.
Christian Act in Word of God “we are blessed”
In our daily life, one of the great deceptions created by our modern culture and lifestyle is that we reach happiness by having all our wants and wishes fulfilled. These wishes are then identified for us through advertisements and social media where enjoyment, entertainment, beauty, fashion, money, popularity, a career, and success, are presented as sources of happiness. The pursuit of these, we are told, is the right focus of human life. Sadly, many, particularly among young people fall victims to these deceptions. Today, we are reminded that blessed are the poor in spirit for the Kingdom of God is theirs.
As Christians, what we need to know and understand is that the right perspective on life is defined for us through the teachings of Jesus.
As Christians and believers, we are entrusted with representing and proclaiming that truly human life cannot be limited to, and dominated by, daily concerns and pleasures. Of course, we need to be concerned with our daily life, to find satisfaction and enjoyment in our work, and look for joy and support in our relationships. But these pursuits and concerns must not blind us to the fact that our ultimate concern in life is to follow God’s ways, and Jesus’ teaching, because only in and through these will we find true and lasting happiness. Ignoring this fact may cause us to make the same mistake as Jeremiah’s people, who were so confident and preoccupied with securing their own lives with their own hands, that, in the end, they lost everything.
The call of today’s liturgy is to maintain a broad and deep perspective on life, one that seriously acknowledges that our life comes from God, and ought to lead us back to God. Let us thank Jesus Christ for revealing to us the truth of heavenly treasures.
Action: I will open my heart and acknowledge that I’m blessed and I need to bless others by speaking good of others and loving others.
Prayer: Ever-living God, help us to recognise that we are poor in spirit so that we can be blessed and encounter the Kingdom of God. Our hearts are restless until they rest in your Kingdom of Heaven. Through your Son Jesus Christ, open our hearts so that your grace may flow in our life forever, we ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
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- Think & Live Beyond Vanity: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 30, 2022
- Never Stop Praying: 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 23, 2022