THEME: BLESSED IS THE MAN WHO PLACES HIS TRUST IN THE LORD
READINGS: Jeremiah 17:5-8/ 1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20/ Luke 6:17, 20-26
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Trust in the Lord makes a whole world of difference; it is rewarded with blessings. This is a message underscored in the first reading, the responsorial Psalm and the gospel reading.
In the first reading, the prophet Jeremiah contrasts the fate of the person who trusts in man with the person who trusts in the Lord God. The former “is like a shrub in the desert” (Jer. 17:6) which yields nothing; he/she is doomed. On the other hand, the person who trusts in God “is like a tree planted by water” which “does not cease to bear fruit” (Jer. 17:8); he/she is blessed (Jer. 17:7). Similarly, the Psalmist says that whereas the wicked will perish (Psalm 1:4-5), those who trust in the Lord will be blessed, like a fruitful tree planted besides flowing waters (Psalm 1:3).
Like both the prophet Jeremiah and the Psalmist, St. Luke presents us with the contrasting pictures of the fates of those who trust in God and those who trust in something other than God Himself (cf. Luke 6:17, 20-26). Thus, unlike St. Matthew who presents only the beatitudes of Jesus (Matt. 5:1-12), St Luke presents the beatitudes alongside the fate of those who do not trust in God. Thus, in the first place, the rich are condemned (Luke 6:24), because they trust not in God but in their wealth, whereas the poor are blessed (Luke 6:20), because they trust in God. Secondly, whereas those who are satisfied are condemned (Luke 6:25), because they trust not in God but in food or the material that satisfies them, those who hunger are blessed (Luke 6:21) because they trust in the God of providence.
Thirdly, while those who laugh are condemned (Luke 6:25) for finding their consolation in a creature and not in God, those who weep are blessed (Luke 6:21), because they trust God to console them. Fourthly, while those who are praised by everyone are condemned (Luke 6:25) for trusting in human assessment and not in God’s, those who are hated for the sake of Christ are blessed (Luke 6:22), because they trust in God as the ultimate judge and rewarder.
It should be obvious, then, that the mere fact of being rich, being satisfied, laughing or being praised does not warrant condemnation by the Lord. On the other hand, the mere fact of being poor, being hungry, weeping or being hated does not attract God’s blessings. In the first case, what brings condemnation is the lack of trust in God, whereas in the second case, what brings blessings is trust in God. Therefore, whether rich or poor, satisfied or hungry, laughing or weeping, praised or hated, let us place our absolute trust in God.
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis