6th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

///Luke 6:20-26

///Luke 6:20-26

GOSPELCATENA AUREA1ST READINGDISCUSSION

SERMON ON THE PLAIN

Blessings & Woes

In Brief

Luke 6:17,20-26

Happy, blessed, are the poor, whose reward is great in heaven

  • Luke’s Gospel portrays Jesus’ special concern for the poor and vulnerable.
  • In today’s passage, Jesus pronounces blessing on the poor and woe to the rich.
  • The poor know their only hope is in God.
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor

Featured Videos

A WALK IN THE WORD (59:04)
Catholic Evangelist Hector Molina

CATHOLIC PRODUCTIONS (11:30)

Dramatizations

THE CHOSEN (3:27)

JESUS OF NAZARETH (3:32)
Cross References
OT: Isa 61:1–2
NT: Matt 4:24–25; Mark 3:7–10; 6:56. // Matt 5:3–12

SHOW/HIDE MORE

17 and he came down with them. Mat. 4:23–25; 12:15. Mar. 3:7, etc.

coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. Mat. 11:21; 15:21. Mar. 3:8; 7:24–31.


20 raising his eyes. Mat. 5:2, etc.; 12:49, 50. Mar. 3:34, 35.

Blessed are you who are poor. ver. 24; ch. 4:18; 16:25. 1 Sa. 2:8. Ps. 37:16; 113:7, 8. Pr. 16:19; 19:1. Is. 29:19; 57:15, 16; 66:2. Zep. 3:12. Zec. 11:11. Mat. 11:5. Jno. 7:48, 49. 1 Co. 1:26–29. 2 Co. 6:10; 8:2, 9. 1 Th. 1:6. Ja. 1:9, 10; 2:5. Re. 2:9. for. ch. 12:32; 13:28; 14:15. Mat. 5:3, 10. Ac. 14:22. 1 Co. 3:21–23. 2 Th. 1:5. Ja. 1:12.


21 you who are now hungry. ver. 25; ch. 1:53. Ps. 42:1, 2; 143:6. Is. 55:1, 2. 1 Co. 4:11. 2 Co. 11:27; 12:10.

for you will be satisfied  Ps. 17:15; 63:1–5; 65:4; 107:9. Is. 25:6; 44:3, 4; 49:9, 10; 65:13; 66:10. Je. 31:14, 25. Mat. 5:6. Jno. 4:10; 6:35; 7:37, 38. Re. 7:16.

you who are now weeping ver. 25. Ps. 6:6–8; 42:3; 119:136; 126:5, 6, 36. Ec. 7:2, 3. Is. 30:19; 57:17, 18; 61:1–3. Je. 9:1; 13:17; 31:9, 13, 18–20. Eze. 7:16; 9:4. Mat. 5:4. Jno. 11:35; 16:20, 21. Ro. 9:1–3. 2 Co. 1:4–6; 6:10; 7:10, 11. Ja. 1:2–4, 12. 1 Pe. 1:6–8. Re. 21:3.

you will laugh Ge. 17:17; 21:6. Ps. 28:7; 30:11, 12; 126:1, 2. Is. 12:1, 2; 65:14.


22 when people hate you. Mat. 5:10–12; 10:22. Mar. 13:9–13. Jno. 7:7; 15:18–20; 17:14. 2 Co. 11:23–26. Phi. 1:28–30. 1 Th. 2:14, 15. 2 Ti. 3:11, 12. 1 Pe. 2:19, 20; 3:14; 4:12–16.

exclude and insult you ch. 20:15. Is. 65:5; 66:5. Jno. 9:22–28, 34; 12:42; 16:2. Ac. 22:22; 24:5.

on account of the Son of Man . ch. 21:17. Mat. 10:18, 22, 39. Ac. 9:16. 1 Co. 4:10, 11.


23 Rejoice . Ac. 5:41. Ro. 5:3. 2 Co. 12:10. Col. 1:24. Ja. 1:2.

leap for joy. ch. 1:41, 44. 2 Sa. 6:16. Is. 35:6. Ac. 3:8; 14:10.

your reward will be great in heaven. ver. 35. Mat. 5:12; 6:1, 2. 2 Th. 1:5–7. 2 Ti. 2:12; 4:7, 8. He. 11:6, 26. 1 Pe. 4:13. Re. 2:7, 10, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12; 21:7.

for their ancestors treated the prophets  1 Ki. 18:4; 19:2, 10, 14; 21:20; 22:8, 27. 2 Ki. 6:31. 2 Ch. 36:16. Ne. 9:26. Je. 2:30. Mat. 21:35, 36; 23:31–37. Ac. 7:51, 52. 1 Th. 2:14, 15. He. 11:32–39.


24 woe to you. ch. 12:15–21; 18:23–25. Job 21:7–15. Ps. 49:6, 7, 16–19; 73:3–12. Pr. 1:32. Je. 5:4–6. Am. 4:1–3; 6:1–6. Hag. 2:9. 1 Ti. 6:17. Ja. 2:6; 5:1–6. Re. 18:6–8.

for you have received your consolation. ch. 16:19–25. Mat. 6:2, 5, 16.


25 who are filled now. De. 6:11, 12. 1 Sa. 2:5. Pr. 30:9. Is. 28:7; 65:13. Phi. 4:12, 13. Re. 3:17.

you will be hungry. Is. 8:21; 9:20; 65:13.

who laugh now. ch. 8:53; 16:14, 15. Ps. 22:6, 7. Pr. 14:13. Ec. 2:2; 7:3, 6. Ep. 5:4. Ja. 4:9.

you will grieve and weep. ch. 12:20; 13:28. Job 20:5–7; 21:11–13. Ps. 49:19. Is. 21:3, 4; 24:7–12. Da. 5:4–6. Am. 8:10. Na. 1:10. Mat. 22:11–13. 1 Th. 5:3. Re. 18:7–11.


26 when all speak well of you. Mi. 2:11. Jno. 7:7; 15:19. Ro. 16:18. 2 Th. 2:8–12. Ja. 4:4. 2 Pe. 2:18, 19. 1 Jno. 4:5, 6. Re. 13:3, 4. so. 1 Ki. 22:6–8, 13, 14, 24–28. Is. 30:10. Je. 5:31. 2 Pe. 2:1–3.

SOURCE: B. Blayney, Thomas Scott, and R.A. Torrey with John Canne, Browne, The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, vol. 2 (London: Samuel Bagster and Sons, n.d.), 43–45. Adapted to fit with NAB Lectionary translation

NABRE NOTES: Almost all the words of Jesus reported by Luke are found in Matthew’s version, but because Matthew includes sayings that were related to specifically Jewish Christian problems (e.g., Mt 5:17–20; 6:1–8, 16–18) that Luke did not find appropriate for his predominantly Gentile Christian audience, the “Sermon on the Mount” is considerably longer.

Location of Sermon (v. 17)

Jesus came down with the Twelve… and stood on a stretch of level ground

Context of Luke’s Passage

AGAPE BIBLE STUDYIn Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus gave a homily on the mountain (Mt Chapters 5-7) that included His spiritual Beatitude teaching. A beatitude (makarios in Greek) is a blessing bestowed by God. There are three major theories that Bible scholars have developed to account for the differences between Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and Luke’s Sermon on the Plain:

  1. Both Gospels give different accounts of the same discourse.
  2. The Gospels reflect two different homilies spoken at different times during Jesus’s teaching ministry.
  3. The Gospels present two discourses delivered in close succession: one on the mountain’s summit to only the disciples and Apostles, followed by a second sermon on the plain to the multitude.

HECTOR MOLINA – Jesus was not out in some plain, like  the plains of Nebraska or Kansas. Luke 6:12 shows that Jesus went out into the hills (Grk: oros = “hill, mount, mountain) to pray; and he was there all night. In verse 17, he comes down with the Twelve Apostles and stands on a level place, a plateau, not necessarily a plain (cf. first 15 minutes of video featured at top of the page).

The Great Multitude (v. 17)

Judea, Jerusalem, Tyre, and Sidon

SERMON WRITER:  [This] contrasts with the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus delivers his sermon from the mountain (Matthew 5:1). Luke is sensitive to the lowly and poor. Perhaps having Jesus come down to the level place is his way of emphasizing Jesus’ ministry to ordinary people in ordinary places. Luke usually portrays disciples in small groups. Only here and in Luke 19:37 does he show us a large crowd of disciples.

The places mentioned in Lk 6:17 are an interesting mix:

  • Judea is the southern province.
  • Jerusalem, located in Judea, is the home of the temple and the most orthodox Jewish leaders. It represents the religious status quo—Jesus’ opposition.
  • Tyre and Sidon are Gentile cities on the coast just north of Capernaum. Their mention suggests the presence of Gentiles among the crowd at the Sermon on the Plain.

Together, these four places emphasize the breadth of Jesus’ ministry—from far north to far south—from orthodox Jews to Gentiles.

🟤 LECTIONARY POEMS

Send in the clowns

For Luke, “disciples” means not just “the Twelve,”
Those Jesus gathered, who then dug and delved
To figure out the truth of who he was,
And sang, “What’s happening?” and “What’s the buzz?”

READ MORE

SOURCE: Scott L. Barton, a Presbyterian pastor who writes a poem each week to help preachers or anybody else to think about a text in a new way.

Jesus Looks at His Disciples (v. 20)

Raising his eyes toward them…

ARCHBISHOP PAUL D. ETIENNE (SEATTLE): For me, as with all Scripture, but especially with the Gospel where Jesus is speaking, it is important to allow the ‘person of Jesus’ to speak directly to me, and to you… This action or ‘image’ of looking at Jesus is called to mind by Luke at the very beginning of this Sermon when he states:  “And raising his eyes toward his disciples he [Jesus] said:” (Luke 6:20) and then begins the ‘sermon.’  Jesus is looking at his disciples, and he is looking at each of us.

This is our starting point for listening to the Gospel, Jesus is looking at us with love.   To ‘listen to his Word’ is to look upon the face of Jesus; is to have a personal encounter with Jesus.  Place yourself with the multitude upon the mount or the plain as Jesus is speaking, and allow his Word to penetrate your heart as his gaze of love penetrates your soul.  Hear his voice.  Experience his compassion.  Understand his ‘authority’ as the ‘Word made flesh.’  This is not just any teaching, but the loving instruction of the Living God who comes down from heaven.

The Blessed (vv. 20-22)

SERMON WRITER:  Some modern translations use the word “happy” instead of “blessed” to translate makarioi. That is an “unhappy” choice, given the connotations associated with the word happy in our culture. The blessing here is the security of knowing that one is right with God.

LIFE APPLICATION BIBLE COMMENTARY: The word “blessed” means more than happiness; it means favored and approved by God… In God’s kingdom, a person who is “blessed” experiences hope and joy, independent of his or her outward circumstances… Jesus was not cursing all that is part of life—such as laughter, fun, happiness, money, food—but if these become the focus of life without regard to God, then a person cannot be “blessed” by God.

OTHER PLACES IN LUKE WHERE JESUS USES THE WORD BLESSED

KIERAN O’MAHONY: This Gospel contains five further beatitudes, peculiar to Luke.

  • And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:45)
  • But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it!” (Luke 11:28)
  • Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. (Luke 12:37)
  • One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, “Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!” (Luke 14:15)
  • For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ (Luke 23:29)

Luke 6:20-26

SIX MODERN BEATITUDES - POPE FRANCIS
Photo from Unsplash

The Beatitudes as the Christian’s identity card

The Beatitudes identify us as followers of Jesus. We are called to be blessed, to be followers of Jesus, to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus. Thus we ought to be able to recognize and respond to new situations with fresh spiritual energy.

  1. Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart
  2. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness
  3. Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover Him
  4. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home
  5. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others
  6. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
SOURCE: Homily by Pope Francis during his visit to Malmö, Sweden on All Saints Day 2016
🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS

Power and Paradox

The beatitudes are a “series of bomb-shells” or “flashes of lightning followed by the thunder of surprise and shock” for Jesus’ hearers. – FR TONY KADAVIL 

Fr. Nicanor F. Lalog II – A paradox is a statement that seems contradictory but may be true in fact.  From the Greek words para for beyond and doxa for opinion, a paradox promotes critical thinking and deep introspection or reflections.  Christian living is a life of paradoxes as we often hear Jesus our Lord telling us to lose our lives in order to gain it.  St. Francis of Assisi knew it so well that in his prayer to be an instrument of peace, he rightly claimed that “it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.”  …For Jesus Christ, true blessedness and the way of happiness for us His disciples is being poor, hungry, weeping, and hated.  What a paradox indeed!

SACRED SPACE BLOG:  Jesus upturns the values we would normally consider desirable. He asks us to realise that we are not living simply to be happy in this life but we should ask ourselves the deeper value of our ways of life in the light of what we can bring with us to eternal life.

AGAPE BIBLE STUDYJesus promises blessings to those who have suffered from social injustice in this life (Luke 6:20-23):

Luke 6:20-26

LUKE'S USE OF THE WORD 'NOW'

CATHOLIC ANSWERS:  There is a word repeated symmetrically in this account four times that can give us a key to how this paradox can be. This is the word now… The “now” is all we have. It is the nunc temporis, the now of time that is also the simple momentary flash of eternity. Were death to find us in this present instant we would, as far as we can know from revelation, be fixed in our choice, for good or ill. Thus, the present moment is everything for us.

Far from being frightening, this means that all we need is to hunger now for God’s mercy, to sorry now for our sins, and we will immediately be among those who receive the blessings of those who weep for their sins and hunger for God’s justice. The saint and the sinner are, in the Christian dispensation, not so far apart. Only one thing separates them: their use of the present moment, of the now. Even if I am a lecher, a drunk, a thief, or a liar, if in the present moment I hunger for wholeness and am sorry for my misdeeds, I will be saved.  This is truly good news, the gospel!

Click banner above to show/hide excerpt from Catholic Answers.

The Four Contrasts (vv. 22-23)

POVERTY/RICHES (v. 20)

Poverty/Riches (v. 20)

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours

FR. GEORGE SMIGA I would suggest that the key to understanding Jesus’ words is the phrase the Kingdom of God…

The Kingdom of God is God’s plan for the world, what God wants to happen in the world. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament agree that this notion of the Kingdom of God has two essential aspects.

  1. It is going to be a place of peace, of plenty and of joy.
  2. Where good things are available to all and shared by all.

It is only in light of Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom that we can understand why he thinks that some things are blest and some things are not. Jesus says, “Blessed are you poor,” not because poverty is a blessing. He says, “Blessed are you poor” because God is on your side. God’s plan for the world is to eliminate poverty, to eliminate hunger and so you who are presently poor are blest because God is going to bring you out of that suffering and poverty into a place of plenty and joy. Moreover, all who share in God’s vision for the world will assist the poor in leaving their poverty and hunger behind.

FR TONY KADAVIL:  Luke presents the beatitudes as reinforcing what Mary had said a few chapters earlier in the Magnificat:

He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.”

Luke’s account, alone among the Gospels, expands on the words spoken by Jesus at his inaugural sermon in Nazareth. There, Jesus declared an “option for the poor” and a “theology of liberation” with the powerful theme of economic and social reversal clearly stated. Luke’s account also demonstrates Jesus’ solidarity with the poor, the oppressed, and the vulnerable and with women, minorities, and the socially despised.

LARRY BRODING:  For Luke, the difference between rich and poor was more than money. The truly poor were those who were willing to sacrifice material need, daily entertainment, and reputation for God’s kingdom. They were poor by choice, not by circumstance. The truly rich were those who craved wealth and the comforts that it could buy, even to the determent of others.

KIERAN O’MAHONY:  The next two beatitudes spell out the experience of poverty. First of all, hunger, lack of food. And then, loss of significant people in your life leading to lack of support, isolation.

📘 CCC 2444

“The Church’s love for the poor. .. is a part of her constant tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor.1 Love for the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as to “be able to give to those in need.”2 It extends not only to material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and religious poverty.3

1 CA 57; cf. Lk 6:20-22, Mt 8:20; Mk 12:41-44.
2 Eph 4:28.
3 Cf. CA 57.

Click on image to view passage in context.
HUNGER/FULLNESS (v. 21a)

Hunger/Fullness (v. 21a)

Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied

SERMON WRITER: Luke on several occasions uses the metaphor of a messianic banquet to portray the blessings that await the faithful. “They will come from the east, west, north, and south, and will sit down in the Kingdom of God” (Luke 13:29; see also Luke 12:37; 14:14-24)—a metaphor drawn from the Old Testament (Isaiah 25:6-8; 49:10-13; 65:13; see also Psalm 107:9). While the blessing of the poor (Luke 6:20) is present, the blessing of the hungry and those who weep (Luke 6:21) is future.

KIERAN O’MAHONY:  In this beatitude, Luke has bodily hunger in view:  Luke11:20; 16:16; 17:21. The use of the passive voice indicates God as the one who will fill them. Cf. Isa. 49:9–10; 65:13; Ezek. 34:29; Ps. 17:14.

WEEPING/LAUGHTER (v. 21b)

Sorrow/Laughter (v. 21b)

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh

KIERAN O’MAHONY: Luke has “weeping” instead of Matthew’s “mourning.” Weeping belongs to the typical language of Luke, occurring some 25 times. The turning of tears to joy is part of the vision of the end time: Isa. 49:9–10; 65:13; Ezek. 34:29; Ps. 17:14. Cf. Romans 12:14-21—perhaps Paul’s commentary on the Beatitudes.

SERMON WRITER: “Weeping and mourning are stock responses to rejection, ridicule, and loss” (Green, 268), so the promise of joyful laughter suggests that these people will enjoy acceptance, affirmation, and the restoration of that which was lost—plus much more!

KIERAN O’MAHONY:  “Blessed are you who weep” is not an encouragement to be miserable. Rather it is an affirmation of the importance of loving relationships in life. We are blessed to have such people in our lives, but there may also be pain. Yet is it not true that the blessing of loving and being loved is worth the price you pay?

SR.MARY MCGLONE:  In Luke’s Gospel, people weep for reasons of love or compassion… In addition to the Beatitudes, Luke portrays people weeping over death (Luke 7:13, 8:52); he shows Peter weeping after denying Jesus (Luke 22:62); and he mentions the weeping of the woman who washed Jesus’ feet (Luke 7:38). Most uniquely, Luke tells us that Jesus himself wept over the city of Jerusalem, the city that was about to demand his death (Luke 19:41).  Luke portrays holy tears as the response to conversion, death, betrayal and hardness of heart.

🔵 HOMILY ILLUSTRATION

September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attack

Fr. Tony Kadavil On that tragic Tuesday, a New York City parish priest standing on the corner of 14th Street and 1st Avenue witnessed the first terrorist plane plunging into the Twin Towers. “I stood there in shock and disbelief,” says the priest. “Without fully comprehending what was happening, I walked into the Church and said the morning Mass.” Normally, about a hundred persons attend this weekday service. That morning there were several hundred. The Gospel reading for the day was,

“Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.”

“Even in the early moments of this world tragedy,” says the priest, “I wondered how these words of Christ could ever be true.”

DEFAMATION/COMMENDATION (v. 22)

Defamation/Commendation (v. 22)

Blessed are you when people hate you… Rejoice and leap for joy

SERMON WRITER: This beatitude is different in that it promises a reward to those who endure rejection or persecution because of their faithfulness to Christ. The corresponding woe, “Woe, when men speak well of you” (v. 26), promises punishment to those who are like the false prophets of old.

KIERAN O’MAHONY: This beatitude—an addition—reflects the later time of the church, when followers of Jesus were harassed. It also reflects the experience of exclusion from the synagogue. This is most likely not a formal exclusion but a practical one. Cf. That day a severe persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout the countryside of Judea and Samaria. (Acts 8:1)

KIERAN O’MAHONY:   Leaping for joy is mentioned also in birth narrative: When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. (Luke 1:41); For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. (Luke 1:44).

🟠 ART CONNECTION

“The pain passes, but the beauty remains.”

In old age the great French painter, suffered from arthritis. Grasping a brush with only his fingertips, however, he continued to paint, even though each movement caused stabbing pain. When asked why he persevered at the expense of such torture, Renoir replied, “The pain passes, but the beauty remains.” This is a great answer to the paradox we find in Luke’s beatitudes and the cross of Jesus. Why should we keep on pushing ahead in our commitment to the Kingdom of God as disciples of Christ when it costs us so dearly – our money, our possessions, our health and even our good name? Because, as Renoir says, ’the pain passes, but the beauty remains’.

🟢  AGNUS DAY COMIC STRIP
SOURCE: James Wetzstein, Lutheran pastor.

Rejection on Account of the Son of Man

Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.

JAIME L. WATERS – Jesus criticizes those who live comfortably while others suffer. The critique against people who are regarded favorably like false prophets of old is a reference to groups frequently mentioned in prophetic literature of the Old Testament. The false or lying prophets said what people wanted to hear and were praised and celebrated for it. But in reality, they were proclaiming that things were going well when suffering was widespread and destruction was imminent.

CHRISTIAN RESOURCE INSTITUTE:  The background of Jesus’ visit to Nazareth becomes more clear. Jesus introduced a prophetic theme there (4:24) that caused an immediate reaction from the people. While the disciples are not called “prophets” here, and are assigned no prophetic role, Luke seems to be drawing an analogy between the OT prophets who spoke the truth, and the disciples who will live the truth (as outlined in vv. 26-49). The point is that truth, in whatever form it is presented, is not welcome in a world that is governed by self-interest, and whose values are decided by the rich and satisfied who have need of nothing. There is a subversive element to the truth, and the only recourse people have is to silence it by hatred, exclusion, vilification, and defamation. And yet those “poor” who are rejected are the heart of the kingdom of God, because they join the poor of the world who have no other future except God’s future.

🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS

A Portrait of Jesus on the Cross

Audio clip from  BLESSED DETACHMENT – Bishop Robert Barron

Catechism paragraph 1717

The Woeful (vv. 24-26)

STMARYSTARS.ORGThe woeful are those who have grown comfortable and smug. They may not experience discomfort during this life. But their relative abundance, plentiful tables and good times now will place their future in jeopardy. To live under the verdict of “woe” means condemnation.

Jesus does not ask his listeners to become destitute in order to join the “blessed,” but given the options he presents, it is undeniable that he expects a response that reaches out to others and involves sacrifice. Later in Luke’s Gospel we will meet characters such as Zacchaeus and the Good Samaritan, individuals who were depicted by Luke as willing to put ample material resources at the service of others.

Clipart by Fr. Richard Lonsdale © 2000. Click image to view more clipart for this Sunday.

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY[Jesus] pronounced judgment on the rich who allowed poverty to increase without using the blessings of their material wealth to comfort the poor and suffering. The rich who did not share their wealth would only receive temporal blessings in this life. Their judgment was to remain spiritually impoverished and to have no share in the eternal blessings promised in Jesus’s heavenly Kingdom:

  1. They will have no “wealth” in eternity.
  2. They may be full now, but they will be hungry for eternity.
  3. They may experience joy now, but they will suffer later beyond this earthly existence.
  4. They are compared to those who persecuted God’s holy prophets.

THE NAVARRE BIBLE:  Our Lord here condemns four things: avarice and attachment to the things of the world; excessive care of the body, gluttony; empty-headed joy and general self-indulgence; flattery, and disordered desire for human glory—four common vices which a Christian needs to be on guard against.

THE RICH (v. 24)

The Rich (v. 24)

AGAPE BIBLE STUDYJesus’s judgments against the affluent who without conscience oppressed or ignored the poor and suffering are similar to Isaiah’s prophecy of judgment in 65:11-16: therefore, thus says the Lord GOD: Lo, my servants shall eat, but you shall go hungry; my servants shall drink, but you shall be thirsty; my servants shall rejoice, but you shall be put to shame … (Is 65:13). A true prophet speaks the word of God (Dt 18:17-20). The Pharisees’ opposition to God the Son placed them in the category of false prophets.

FR. GEORGE SMIGA:  Jesus says, “Woe to you who are rich,” not because wealth is bad but that people who have wealth can be deceived by it. People who have all that they need, who are filled, who are not hungry, who are joyful, might think that everything is the way that it should be. It might be that way for them but God’s vision says that it must be that way for everyone. You see, the temptation of wealth and satisfaction is that we can conclude that if we are satisfied, then all is as it should be. What God’s vision of the Kingdom tells those who are blest is this: You must use your blessings so that others might be blest. You cannot be satisfied until everyone is satisfied, that you are not truly fed until everyone is fed, that you are not totally where you should be until all people can participate in the necessities of life, until all people have access to food, shelter, education and health care. This is the vision that God sets out: good things for all those who are a part of humanity.

FEASTING ON THE WORD:: Luke does not consider those with wealth to be beyond salvation. There are “success stories” about the wealthy in Luke (see Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1–10; Joseph Barnabas, Acts 4:36–37; Cornelius, Acts 10:2; and perhaps also Lydia, Acts 16:14). So although the beatitudes and woes in Luke tend to remind us immediately of the story of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31), the preacher will need to be attentive to Luke’s subtleties in this matter.

Catechism paragraph 2547

THOSE WHO ARE FULL NOW (v. 25a)

Those who are Full Now (v. 25a)

LIFE APPLICATION BIBLE COMMENTARY:  The phrase “who are full now” refers to those who have everything that this world offers. They lack nothing. Their material possessions and financial “security” cause them to think that they have no need for God. One day, however, they will be hungry. This may not occur in this life, but they will find that for eternity, when it really matters, they will be the ones who suffer. The Gospel later records a parable of a rich man and a poor man that illustrates this point (see 16:19–31).

THOSE WHO LAUGH NOW (v. 25b)

Those who Laugh Now (v. 25b)

WHEN ALL SPEAK WELL OF YOU (v. 26)

When All Speak Well of You (v. 26)

LIFE APPLICATION BIBLE COMMENTARY:  One cannot be pleasing to everyone in that way without sacrificing some principle here or another there. Such a person must waffle in all areas of life so everyone will like him or her.

🔴 CATHOLIC THEOLOGY & PRAXIS

The Four Cardinal Virtues

A person learns to live the Beatitudes by practicing, with the aid of God’s grace, the moral virtues (prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance; see Wis 8:7).

LUKE 6:20-23

20. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

21. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

23. Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. After the ordination of the Apostles, the Saviour directed His disciples to the newness of the evangelical life.

AMBROSE. But being about to utter His divine oracles, He begins to rise higher; although He stood in a low place, yet as it is said, He lifted up his eyes. What is lifting up the eyes, but to disclose a more hidden light?

BEDE. And although He speaks in a general way to all, yet more especially He lifts up His eyes on His disciples; for it follows, on his disciples, that to those who receive the word listening attentively with the heart, He might reveal more fully the light of its deep meaning.

Luke mentions only four blessings, but Matthew eight; but in those eight are contained these four, and in these four those eight. For the one has embraced as it were the four cardinal virtues, the other has revealed in those eight the mystical number.

AMBROSE. Now Luke mentions only four blessings, but Matthew eight; but in those eight are contained these four, and in these four those eight. For the one has embraced as it were the four cardinal virtues, the other has revealed in those eight the mystical number. For as the eighth 1 is the accomplishment of our hope, so is the eighth also the completion of the virtues. But each Evangelist has placed the blessings of poverty first, for it is the first in order, and the purest, as it were, of the virtues; for he who has despised the world shall reap an eternal reward. Now can any one obtain the reward of the heavenly kingdom who, overcome by the desires of the world, has no power of escape from them? Hence it follows, He said, Blessed are the poor.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew it is said, Blessed are the poor in spirit, that we should understand the poor in spirit to be one of a modest and somewhat depressed mind. Hence our Saviour says, Learn from me, for I am meek and lowly of heart. But Luke says, Blessed are the poor, without the addition of spirit, calling those poor who despise riches. For it became those who were to preach the doctrines of the saving Gospel to have no covetousness, but their affections set upon higher things.

BASIL. (in Ps. 33.) But not every one oppressed with poverty is blessed, but he who has preferred the commandment of Christ to worldly riches. For many are poor in their possessions, yet most covetous in their disposition; these poverty does not save, but their affections condemn. For nothing involuntary deserves a blessing, because all virtue is characterized by the freedom of the will. Blessed then is the poor man as being the disciple of Christ, Who endured poverty for us. For the Lord Himself has fulfilled every work which leads to happiness, leaving Himself an example for us to follow.

EUSEBIUS. But when the celestial kingdom is considered in the many gradations of its blessings, the first step in the scale belongs to those who by divine instinct embrace poverty. Such did He make those who first became His disciples; therefore He says in their person, For yours is the kingdom of heaven, as pointedly addressing Himself to those present, upon whom also He lifted up His eyes.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. After having commanded them to embrace poverty, He then crowns with honour those things which follow from poverty. It is the lot of those who embrace poverty to be in want of the necessaries of life, and scarcely to be able to get food. He does not then permit His disciples to be fainthearted on this account, but says, Blessed are ye who hunger now.

blessed are ye who chasten your body and subject it to bondage,

BEDE. That is, blessed are ye who chasten your body and subject it to bondage, who in hunger and thirst give heed to the word, for then shall ye receive the fulness of heavenly joys.

GREGORY OF NYSSA. (de Beat. orat. 4.) But in a deeper sense, as they who partake of bodily food vary their appetites according to the nature of the things to be eaten; so also in the food of the soul, by some indeed that is desired which depends upon the opinion of men, by others, that which is essentially and of its own nature good. Hence, according to Matthew, men are blessed who account righteousness in the place of food and drink; by righteousness I mean not a particular but an universal virtue, which he who hungers after is said to be blessed.

BEDE. Plainly instructing us, that we ought never to account ourselves sufficiently righteous, but always desire a daily increase in righteousness, to the perfect fulness of which the Psalmist shews us that we can not arrive in this world, but in the world to come. I shall be satisfied when thy glory shall be made manifest (Ps. 17:15.). Hence it follows, For ye shall be filled.

For to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness He promises abundance of the things they desire.

GREGORY OF NYSSA. (ubi sup.) For to those who hunger and thirst after righteousness He promises abundance of the things they desire. For none of the pleasures which are sought in this life can satisfy those who pursue them. But the pursuit of virtue alone is followed by that reward, which implants a joy in the soul that never faileth.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. But poverty is followed not only by a want of those things which bring delight, but also by a dejected look, because of sorrow. Hence it follows, Blessed are ye that weep. He blesses those who weep, not those who merely drop tears from their eyes, (for this is common to the believing and unbelieving, when sorrow befals them,) but rather He calls those blessed, who shun a careless life, mixed up with sin, and devoted to carnal pleasures, and refuse enjoyments almost weeping from their hatred of all worldly things.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 18. ad pop. Ant.) But godly sorrow is a great thing, and it worketh repentance to salvation. Hence St. Paul when he had no failings of his own to weep for, mourned for those of others. Such grief is the source of gladness, as it follows, For ye shall laugh. For if we do no good to those for whom we weep, we do good to ourselves. For he who thus weeps for the sins of others, will not let his own go unwept for; but the rather he will not easily fall into sin. Let us not be ever relaxing ourselves in this short life, lest we sigh in that which is eternal. Let us not seek delights from which flow lamentation, and much sorrow, but let us be saddened with sorrow which brings forth pardon. We often find the Lord sorrowing, never laughing.

BASIL. (Hom. de Grat. act.) But He promises laughing to those who weep; not indeed the noise of laughter from the mouth, but a gladness pure and unmixed with aught of sorrow.

Let them separate and expel you from the synagogue. Christ finds you out, and strengthens you.

BEDE. He then who on account of the riches of the inheritance of Christ, for the bread of eternal life, for the hope of heavenly joys, desires to suffer weeping, hunger, and poverty, is blessed. But much more blessed is he who does not shrink to maintain these virtues in adversity. Hence it follows, Blessed are ye when men shall hate you. For although men hate, with their wicked hearts they can not injure the heart that is beloved by Christ, It follows, And when they shall separate you. Let them separate and expel you from the synagogue. Christ finds you out, and strengthens you. It follows; And shall reproach you. Let them reproach the name of the Crucified, He Himself raises together with Him those that have died with Him, and makes them sit in heavenly places. It follows, And cast out your name as evil. Here he means the name of Christian, which by Jews and Gentiles as far as they were able was frequently erased from the memory, and east out by men, when there was no cause for hatred, but the Son of man; for in truth they who believed on the name of Christ, wished to be called after His name. Therefore He teaches that they are to be persecuted by men, but are to be blessed beyond men. As it follows, Rejoice ye in that day, and weep for joy, for behold your reward is great in heaven.

CHRYSOSTOM. Great and little are measured by the dignity of the speaker. Let us enquire then who promised the great reward. If indeed a prophet or an apostle, little had been in his estimation great; but now it is the Lord in whose hands are eternal treasures and riches surpassing man’s conception, who has promised great reward.

BASIL. (Hom. 6. in Hex.) Again, great has sometimes a positive signification, as the heaven is great, and the earth is great; but sometimes it has relation to something else, as a great ox or great horse, on comparing two things of like nature. I think then that great reward will be laid up for those who suffer reproach for Christ’s sake, not as in comparison with those things in our power, but as being in itself great because given by God.

DAMASCENE. (in lib. de Logic c. 49.) Those things which may be measured or numbered are used definitely, but that which from a certain excellence surpasses all measure and number we call great and much indefinitely; as when we say that great is the longsuffering of God.

EUSEBIUS. He then fortifies His disciples against the attacks of their adversaries, which they were about to suffer as they preached through the whole world; adding, For in like manner did their fathers to the prophets.

AMBROSE. For the Jews persecuted the prophets even to death.

BEDE. They who speak the truth commonly suffer persecution, yet the ancient prophets did not therefore from fear of persecution turn away from preaching the truth.

AMBROSE. In that He says, Blessed are the poor, thou hast temperance; which abstains from sin, tramples upon the world, seeks not vain delights. In Blessed are they that hunger, thou hast righteousness; for he who hungers suffers together with the hungry, and by suffering together with him gives to him, by giving becomes righteous, and his righteousness abideth for ever. In Blessed are they that weep now (Ps. 112:9.), thou hast prudence; which is to weep for the things of time, and to seek those which are eternal. In Blessed are ye when men hate you, thou hast fortitude; not that which deserves hatred for crime, but which suffers persecution for faith. For so thou wilt attain to the crown of suffering, if thou slightest the favour of men, and seekest that which is from God.

Temperance therefore brings with it a pure heart; righteousness, mercy; prudence, peace; fortitude, meekness. The virtues are so joined and linked to one another, that he who has one seems to have many; and the Saints have each one especial virtue, but the more abundant virtue has the richer reward. What hospitality in Abraham, what humility, but because he excelled in faith, he gained the preeminence above all others. To every one there are many rewards because many incentives to virtue, but that which is most abundant in a good action, has the most exceeding reward.


LUKE 6:24-26

24. But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

25. Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

26. Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA. Having said before that poverty for God’s sake is the cause of every good thing, and that hunger and weeping will not be without the reward of the saints, he goes on to denounce the opposite to these as the source of condemnation and punishment. But woe unto you rich, for ye have your consolation.

CHRYSOSTOM. For this expression, woe, is always said in the Scriptures to those who cannot escape from future punishment.

For as that poor man is more praiseworthy who gives without grudging, so is the rich man more guilty, who ought to return thanks for what he has received,

AMBROSE. But although in the abundance of wealth many are the allurements to crime, yet many also are the incitements to virtue. Although virtue requires no support, and the offering of the poor man is more commendable than the liberality of the rich, still it is not those who possess riches, but those who know not how to use them, that are condemned by the authority of the heavenly sentence. For as that poor man is more praiseworthy who gives without grudging, so is the rich man more guilty, who ought to return thanks for what he has received, and not to hide without using it the sum which was given him for the common good. It is not therefore the money, but the heart of the possessor which is in fault. And though there be no heavier punishment than to be preserving with anxious fear what is to serve for the advantage of successors, yet since the covetous desires are fed by a certain pleasure of amassing, they who have had their consolation in the present life, have lost an eternal reward. We may here however understand by the rich man the Jewish people, or the heretics, or at least the Pharisees, who, rejoicing in an abundance of words, and a kind of hereditary pride of eloquence, have overstepped the simplicity of true faith, and gained to themselves useless treasures.

BEDE. Woe to you that are full, for ye shall be hungry. That rich man clothed in purple was full, feasting sumptuously every day, but endured in hunger that dreadful “woe,” when from the finger of Lazarus, whom he had despised, he begged a drop of water.

BASIL. (Reg. fus. tract. 16–19.) Now it is plain that the rule of abstinence is necessary, because the Apostle mentions it among the fruits of the Spirit. (Gal. 5:23.) For the subjection of the body is by nothing so obtained as by abstinence, whereby, as it were a bridle, it becomes us to keep in check the fervour of youth. Abstinence then is the putting to death of sin, the extirpation of passions, the beginning of the spiritual life, blunting in itself the sting of temptations. But lest there should be any agreement with the enemies of God, we must accept every thing as the occasion requires, to shew, that to the pure all things are pure (Tit. 1:15.), by coming indeed to the necessaries of life, but abstaining altogether from those which conduce to pleasure. But since it is not possible that all should keep the same hours, or the same manner, or the same proportion, still let there be one purpose, never to wait to be filled, for fulness of stomach makes the body itself also unfit for its proper functions, sleepy, and inclined to what is hurtful.

BEDE. In another way. If those are happy who always hunger after the works of righteousness, they on the other hand are counted to be unhappy, who, pleasing themselves in their own desires, suffer no hunger after the true good. It follows, Woe to you who laugh, &c.

BASIL. (ut sup.) Whereas the Lord reproves those who laugh now, it is plain that there will never be a house of laughter to the faithful, especially since there is so great a multitude of those who die in sin for whom we must mourn. Excessive laughter is a sign of want of moderation, and the motion of an unrestrained spirit; but ever to express the feelings of our heart with a pleasantness of countenance is not unseemly.

CHRYSOSTOM. (Hom. 6. in Matt.) But tell me, why art thou distracting and wasting thyself away with pleasures, who must stand before the awful judgment, and give account of all things done here?

BEDE. But because flattery being the very nurse of sin, like oil to the flames, is wont to minister fuel to those who are on fire with sin, he adds, Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you.

For no one more excites our admiration than he who rejects glory.

CHRYSOSTOM. What is said here is not opposed to what our Lord says elsewhere, Let your light shine before men; (Matt. 5:16.) that is, that we should be eager to do good for the glory of God, not our own. For vain-glory is a baneful thing, and from hence springs iniquity, and despair, and avarice, the mother of evil. But if thou seekest to turn away from this, ever raise thy eyes to God, and be content with that glory which is from Him. For if in all things we must choose the more learned for judges, how dost thou trust to the many the decision of virtue, and not rather to Him, who before all others knoweth it, and can give and reward it, whose glory therefore if thou desirest, avoid the praise of men. For no one more excites our admiration than he who rejects glory. And if we do this, much more does the God of all. Be mindful then, that the glory of men quickly faileth, seeing in the course of time it is past into oblivion. It follows, For so did their fathers to the false prophets.

BEDE. By the false prophets are meant those, who to gain the favour of the multitude attempt to predict future events. The Lord on the mountain pronounces only the blessings of the good, but on the plain he describes also the “woe” of the wicked, because the yet uninstructed hearers must first be brought by terrors to good works, but the perfect need but be invited by rewards.

AMBROSE. And mark, that Matthew by rewards called the people to virtue and faith, but Luke also frightened them from their sins and iniquities by the denunciation of future punishment.

SOURCE: eCatholic 2000 Commentary in public domain.

RELATED:  THE COMPLETE ANTE-NICENE & NICENE AND POST-NICENE CHURCH FATHERS COLLECTION (ecatholic2000.com)

RELATED:  LIBRARY OF CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN CLASSICS  (ecatholic2000.com)

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OUR DAILY BREAD (2:49) – Do you know how God wants you to live? You don’t have to overthink it. He’s already revealed it through nature. Scripture speaks of two trees and how they relate to our lifestyle. One tree is flourishing, while the other struggles in the desert. Watch today’s video to see how God’s desire for you is revealed through nature. Written and presented by Jack Beck.

Jeremiah 17:5-8

Happy are those who trust in God

  • The reading from Jeremiah draws a clear distinction between the person who trusts God and the one who trusts in human beings.
  • Water is a significant aspect of the image.
  • The passage presents a straightforward choice; trust God and live; trust flesh and die.
SOURCE: Our Sunday Visitor

True Wisdom

AGAPE BIBLE STUDYIn this poetic passage, the 6th-century BC prophet Jeremiah contrasts the arid and fruitless lives of those who trust only in themselves or other human beings with those who live spiritually nourished lives because they have faith in God to provide for them even in times of distress.

THE CURSED who separate themselves from God THE BLESSED who are in union with God
He trusts in other human beings He places his trust in Yahweh
He rejects the spiritual in favor of the material He places his hope in Yahweh
He is like a barren bush in the desert He is like a tree planted beside life-giving water
His life is as barren and fruitless as a bush growing in unproductive ground His life is fruitful like a tree that is continually nourished even in times of distress

FR. AUSTIN FLEMING: Jeremiah writes of curses and blessings, making it clear that those who seek blessings need to plant themselves, their lives and their choices – near the waters of the Lord and his Word. And he makes equally clear that those who put their trust in human invention and in their own strength, may well find themselves parched and withered for having settled and rooted themselves apart from the cool streams of the Lord’s peace.

Has our history, with all its successes and failures, has our history shown us to be rooted in God and God’s ways or has the Church in serious ways sold itself out for the wrong reasons, at the expense of the innocent.  What matters here is: where we choose to be planted, what waters we choose to drink, and in whose truth we choose to put down our roots.

Clipart by Fr. Richard Lonsdale © 2000. Click image to view more clipart for this Sunday.

[The tree] fears not the heat… in the year of drought it shows no distress

SERMON WRITER:   The desert shrub is a metaphor for a person living under harsh circumstances. Deserts are hot and arid. Some deserts are baking hot during the day and freezing cold at night. Survival under such conditions is difficult. Furthermore, desert shrubs are not very productive. How many desert shrubs produce abundant fruit, as do apple trees and orange trees? The person who places his/her ultimate trust in mere mortals can expect to live a marginal existence.

AGAPE BIBLE STUDY:   In Jer 17:8, “heat” and “drought” represent the struggles every human being faces in a world full of sin, while “water” is a symbol of the Holy Spirit working in the lives of those who are in union with God, placing their hope and trust in Him. Even though the blessed one who trusts in God will encounter the same dangers others face, the power of God will sustain him in his struggles. He will continue to bear the spiritual fruit of righteousness that promises an ever “green” eternal reward from the waters of the “stream” of everlasting life.

How to Deal with Church Scandals

✏️ APPLICATION

SR.MARY MCGLONE:  Jeremiah warns us that allowing anyone — pope, bishop, religious or lay — to represent the trustworthiness of Christianity and its Gospel is a first step toward blasphemy; it gives God’s authority to someone who is not God. Blind trust or unquestioning obedience gives to humans what belongs to God.

Ironically, to say “I won’t believe in the church because it has bad leadership,” is another way to “trust in human beings.” When we abandon the church on account of the sin of its leaders, we are defining church by its membership rather than by the God who continually calls it into being.

Instead of measuring the church by the behavior of its members, believers must call the entire church to stand before the judgment of the Gospel. When we allow the Gospel to be the light guiding our lives, we accept the fact that no one is above criticism. When we accept the fact that neither we nor any other person or group can adequately speak for God, we can begin to trust in the Spirit to lead us forward as the fallible people we are.

Connection to Psalm 1 | Responsorial Psalm

SERMON WRITER: These verses are similar to Psalm 1, which pronounces blessings on those whose “delight is in Yahweh’s law” (Ps 1:2). Such people “will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper” (Ps 1:3). “The wicked are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away” (Ps 1:4). “Therefore the wicked shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For Yahweh knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked shall perish” (Ps 1:5-6).

Cursed is the man who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm

SERMON WRITER:  It is not a sin to trust people, but it is a sin to trust in people—to invest our deepest faith in another person and to derive our dearest hope from that person—to give that person the place in our hearts that rightfully belongs to God.

  • Or we might be tempted to invest our ultimate trust in an ideology or philosophical system—or the scientific method ­—or technology—or some get rich scheme.
  • Or we might be tempted to trust in contractual agreements with other people or treaty agreements with other nations.
  • Or we might be tempted to trust in our military prowess or that of our allies.
  • Or we might be tempted to trust in a healthy lifestyle and physical fitness routines. Some people put their ultimate trust in oat bran.
  • Or we might be tempted to trust in our own wisdom or our own strength or our own resources. The more gifted or wealthy we are, the more this is likely to be our temptation.

Tree planted beside water

SERMON WRITER: The tree planted alongside water is a metaphor for a life lived under excellent conditions. Plants need water to survive. A tree planted alongside a body of water will always be able to find the water it needs to grow and produce fruit.

The tree planted near a lake or pond needs not be anxious about rain, because it gets its water from the nearby source. It continues to produce fruit because it is well-watered. This serves as a metaphor for those who trust in the Lord. It isn’t that they will experience no adversity—hardly! But they are rooted in their relationship to God—a relationship that nurtures them through adversity and keeps them from despair.

WORD-SUNDAY (3:17) – Larry Broding

VINCE CONTRERAS

Studying God’s Word

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Overview

Since last Sunday’s reading (Luke 5:1-11) Jesus has gone about teaching and healing the sick (Luke 5:12—6:11)—actions that have brought him into his first conflicts with the Pharisees. He has also chosen his Apostles (Luke 6:12-16).

Jesus addresses a large crowd in what is known as the Sermon on the Plain. It is similar to the much longer Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew (chapters 5—7); it contains Matthew’s eight beatitudes (or blessings) compressed into four. Modern scholars propose that the Gospel writers are relating different versions of the same speech. However, it is not unreasonable to conclude that Jesus repeated the same teachings several times over the course of his ministry, adapting it to his specific audience, as any good speaker will do. • Jesus seems to be generally directing his instruction to two groups: the poor and the rich. When Jesus speaks of “the poor” in verse 20, he is not primarily speaking of the materially poor, but of those who place all their confidence in God (Luke 11:28; Psalms 1:1-2). Conversely, when he speaks of “the rich,” he is speaking primarily to the unrighteous rich, who love and trust in their riches instead of God. • Along with the blessings pronounced in the Beatitudes, Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain also contains four “woes.” These woes are cries of impending distress, similar to those voiced by Old Testament prophets (see Isaiah 5:8-22; Amos 6:1-7; Habakkuk 2:6-20) as a warning to those who spurn the blessings of God and his Kingdom.

Questions

  1. What four qualities ought to characterize “the Blessed” (verses 20-22)? How would you define each of these? What blessing is promised for each? Are these present blessings or future blessings?
  2. As in the Gospel Reading, two men are described in both the First Reading and the Psalm. How does each man in those readings compare with the two men described by Jesus?
  3. Who is Jesus addressing in verse 24-26? How would you define each warning he gives here?
  4. How do the values Jesus talks about in this reading compare with the values you are sold every day on TV? What values do you and your family accept? Reject?
  5. If you could add another “blessed” or another “woe” to counteract modern values, what would you want to add?
SOURCE: Sunday Scripture Study by Vince Contreras, Used with Permission
RCL BENZINGER

Junior High Scripture Discussion Starters

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  1. Who does Jesus preach to?
  2. Who does Jesus call “blessed?”
  3. How are the “blessed” rewarded?
  4. How does Jesus warn those who pursue happiness through worldly things alone?

Questions for Deeper Reflection

  1. What do the Beatitudes teach you?
  2. Why is it important for those who are suffering now to know that they will be rewarded in the kingdom of heaven?
  3. What message does this reading bring to those who seem to have everything?
    Is it difficult for people who think they have everything to rely on God? Explain.
SOURCE: Lectionary Resources by RCL BENZINGER
EDRIANNE EZELL

Our Sunday Readings

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SOURCE: Our Sunday Readings by Edrianne Ezell, Used with Permission

FR. EAMON TOBIN

Sharing God’s Word

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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

1. Turn to the person next to you and share what verse in the Gospel caught your attention. The facilitator can decide which is more helpful: to share the next questions with the whole group, or to share in smaller groups of three or four.

2. What verse in today’s readings makes you feel most uncomfortable? What verse challenges you the most?

3. What would you name as blessings and curses in your life?

4. What are the things you hunger for the most? What is the deepest desire of your heart?

5. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.

SOURCE: Commentaries on the Lectionary by Fr. Eamon Tobin (1947-2021), Used with Permission

SHARED PRAYER

Let us now pause to see how something(s) said in the reading might lead us into shared prayer.

“Dear Lord, I trust in you, yet I am still disappointed or dumbfounded when I fail others or others fail me – please give me a heart to love like you in betrayal.” “Please help me to change my perception of ‘blessed’ for both myself and others to Jesus ‘perception.”

SOURCE: Commentaries on the Lectionary by Fr. Eamon Tobin (1947-2021), Used with Permission

FR. CLEMENT D. THIBODEAU

Echoing God’s Word

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1. Read the beatitudes in Matthew (5:3-11) and in Luke (6:20-16). Compare the emphasis that each brings to these words of Jesus. How does Luke differ from Matthew in itemizing the values by which Jesus wants his disciples to live? Which of the two versions do you find easier to understand? Is Luke’s version of the teaching of Jesus easier to live up to? Why? Why does the Church need both versions?

2. Matthew has Jesus pronouncing the beatitudes on a mountaintop; in Luke, Jesus preaches this sermon on a plain or on the journey to Jerusalem. What is the particular significance of each? Would you rather be taught by Jesus who sits at the top of a mountain and hands down divine teaching like Moses from Mount Sinai? Or would you rather be taught by Jesus who is journeying with you toward the fulfillment of God’s purposes on the road to crucifixion and resurrection?

3. In what ways will we begin to share in God’s holiness when we begin to practice the virtues of the beatitudes? Jesus lived by these values and ideals. We begin to share in his holiness when we imitate his way of living. Evaluate what your friends think of these ideals for Christian behavior. Do they admire people who live like Jesus did? Or do they look down on such behaviors as weak and unproductive? What does this say about the values of our modern culture?

SOURCE: Echoing God’s Word by Clement D. Thibodeau (1932-2017), Used with Permission

Reflection by Bishop Jim Golka