My brothers and sisters in Christ,1
Today, we continue reflecting on the beginning of the public life of Jesus according to the Gospel of St. Luke. And for the next few Sundays in Ordinary Time we will contemplate his teaching on chapter 6 of St. Luke’s Gospel.
So our readings today lead us deeper into “the mind” of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, of course, we need to put on the mind of Christ if we are going to follow him and live the way he teaches to live.
And I was reflecting about how this is what the Church is trying to do, week after week during the liturgical year. Slowly, through the words we hear from the sacred Scriptures, through the grace we receive in the Eucharist, we are being formed in the mind of Christ — in his attitudes, in his way of living and also the way he sees and understands the world and human life.
So in today’s Gospel we just heard St. Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. So let us listen to our Lord’s words again:
Blessed are you who are poor …
Blessed are you who are now hungry …
Blessed are you who are now weeping …
Blessed are you when people hate you.
I’m sure that it was difficult for the disciples and the crowd to understand what Jesus was saying. It seems to me that Jesus’ teaching was total revolutionary. A complete change from the usual and generally accepted values of the time.
And obviously it is still very difficult for us to understand it and accept it. What is he talking about — poverty, hunger, weeping, people hating you. That is why, I think, we have to ask for the grace to be open to Jesus’ teachings and to try to be faithful and always choose God.
The prophet Jeremiah tells it to us straight and direct in the first reading today:
Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings,
who seeks his strength in flesh,
whose heart turns away from the Lord.
But notice what the prophet is saying. When we trust in ourselves — in our own strength, in our “know-how,” our technologies, the things we can make and buy. When we trust in ourselves, this way of doing things — or trusting in ourselves — has a way of turning our hearts away from God.
Why? Because when we live this way, when we trust in ourselves and our own strength, we are basically saying that we do not need God. We are saying we can do things by ourselves, without him.
And I think that’s what sometimes happens in our lives. When things are going good and well, when we are comfortable, it is easy to forget about God or to keep him in the background. But on the contrary, we call God when we “need” him. When things aren’t going so well. That’s when we call God.
It’s normal, isn’t it? But the problem is that what is in that way of doing things is just pride. We all have this temptation to trust in our own strength. And pride gets in the way of our relationship with God.
This is why Jesus says such strong words in today’s Gospel:
But woe to you who are rich …
Woe to you who are filled now …
Woe to you who laugh now …
Woe to you when all speak well of you …
But, my dear brothers and sisters, the point is not about wealth or comfort or fame. The point is — where do we put our trust? What is our attitude towards life? Do we accept and surrender to the will of God or are we trying to control and do things by ourselves?
Again the prophet Jeremiah tells us today: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is in the Lord.”
This is, my dear brothers and sisters, the message of the Beatitudes, the message of Jesus. And of course this takes humility. This takes really being honest about ourselves, knowing who we are and accepting who we are before God.
If we are humble we know that everything in our lives comes from God. So we need to ask God to help us in everything that we do — not just in the big things, but also in all the little things in our daily lives. We need to say to Jesus all day long: “Lord, I need you. I need your grace. Help me.”
This is how we live with a humble attitude, the attitude of the Beatitudes.
And this is the “mind” of our Lord Jesus Christ that is opened to us today in this beautiful passage of the Beatitudes.
So, let’s try this week, to go about our daily duties and responsibilities trusting in God. Trying to be more “mindful” that we are walking with Jesus on this path of the beatitudes.
Let’s try to keep our hearts and minds open, and especially trusting in Jesus Christ. Let us keep trying to think and act just like Jesus, trying to give glory and be pleasing to God in everything we do. Just love Jesus, trust him. Listen to his words, he is speaking to each one of us personally — he’s speaking to you, he’s speaking to me. Let’s ask him for help in everything we are doing.
St. Paul in the second reading of today’s Mass tells us:
“But now Christ has been raised from the dead.”
This is our beautiful hope. This is why we can trust in Jesus totally, because in his love for us — he died for us and rose from the dead for us. Because of his love we can believe in his promises, he will never let us down.
And, of course, he calls each one of us to follow him — wherever he leads. He calls us to be like him. He calls us to holiness, each in our own way. Whatever we are, whoever we are — Jesus is calling us to follow him.
So again, this week, especially at home with your family, let’s try to forget your own needs for a while and really think about the needs of others around you. This is one way to grow in humility, by serving others.
And let us try to keep in mind our Lord’s promise to us today in the Gospel, as Jesus said: “Behold, your reward will be great in heaven!”
And let us turn to the Mary our Blessed Mother. She was called “blessed” because she walked on the path of the Beatitudes. So, let us ask her, Mary our Blessed Mother, to guide us so that we have the mind of Jesus Christ, her Son.
1. Readings: Jer. 17:5-8; Ps. 1:1-4, 6; 1 Cor. 15:12, 16-20; Luke 6:17, 20-26