20Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21“Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. 22“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. 23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. 24“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25“Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. 26“Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.- Luke 6:20-26 NRSV
Woe Is A Little Different
We are all familiar with the beatitudes listed in the Gospel of Matthew. In today’s Mass readings we are treated with Luke’s version of them. They are a little different, but convey the same wonderful meaning in a different way.
In Matthew’s Gospel the each sentence in the beatitudes begins with the word “blessed”. Some sentences in Luke’s account begin the same way, but the second half of today’s Gospel reading ends in warning. These are a call for self examination, and a call to look to the needs of others instead of solely our own.
Stay Away From The Warning Of Woe
In today’s Gospel Jesus rebukes the rich, those with full bellies, those who are laughing at the misery of others, and those who don’t stand for truth. Is Jesus against those who are rich? Of course not. However there is something to be said for those who attain riches at the expense of the misery and misfortune of others.
Is Jesus against those who eat their fill? No…not really. However, is one eating so much in front of someone, or at the expense of someone, who does not have enough? The point is not overeating. But doing it and ignoring the pleas of our brothers and sisters who are hungry is.
There is also nothing against laughing. I’m pretty sure that our Lord has a good sense of humor. However, we should never laugh at the misery of others. Even those with whom we disagree.
Lastly Jesus warns of nobody disagrees with you. He has strong words and says that false prophets also share this distinction. If nobody disagrees with us then it is a sign that we have compromised our faith. Following Jesus and his church will lead to some who don’t like you so much. Make the right decision and follow Jesus.
The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will.-St. Elizabeth Ann Seton
Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill-will, bad temper, arrogance and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord’s own humility, we must return to the simplicity of God’s little ones.-St. Hilary of Poiters
The only reason for my being killed is that I have taught the doctrine of Christ. I thank God it is for this reason that I die.-St. Paul Miki