Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Reflection: Luke 6:20-26

Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time – Luke 6:20-26

In this Gospel, Jesus tells his disciples: “Blessed are you who are poor. Blessed are you who are hungry. Blessed are you who are weeping. Blessed are you when people hate you, insult you, and denounce your name as evil.” Now honestly ask yourself: do you consider yourself blessed when you experience poverty, hunger, or other trials? Do you feel blessed if someone hates or dislikes you?

I doubt that any of us feel blessed when we have pain, sorrow, loss and confusion in our lives. It is more likely we may feel cursed or betrayed. We may be sad, afraid, or angry with God. Yet Jesus tells us to rejoice and to leap for joy on that day. He reassures us that we will have a great reward in heaven. However, this assurance most likely will not ease the pain, the sorrow, or the suffering we may be experiencing.

Jesus then continues with the “woes.” He says: “Woe to the rich, you have received your consolation. Woe to you whose bellies are filled, you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now; you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when people speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the prophets in this way.”

It is easy to take our blessings for granted until the difficult times come and we begin to experience the woes of life. Now take a moment and ask yourself: Do you consider it a blessing when you are hungry for love, joy, hope, companionship, spiritual nourishment, or (fill in the blank)? Or at these times do you feel abandoned by God or angry with Jesus? During painful and difficult times, it is almost natural to lose sight of the many ways we also are blessed. If we are struggling and in pain, our focus immediately shifts to the difficult or the frightening aspects of life.

Yet, even when we experience “woes”, we are blessed. We may have a spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, our Church community, a religious community, as well as other people who love and care for us. Hopefully, we have a roof over our heads and enough food on the table. And even during our times of woe, God is right beside us. However, we may not always feel God’s presence. And hopefully, during the woeful times, we have the family and friends who love and care for us.

When we are struggling with the woes, it may be helpful to sit down and focus on the blessings we are experiencing at this time. This may give us some perspective. We may realize that even though life may not be what we would like it to be, we receive many blessings every single day. True, they may seem like small blessings: a smile, a phone call from a friend, the beauty of the sunset or a hug from someone you love, but they still are blessings.

When you are in the woes of life, look for beauty, laughter, or quiet, or ask God for a hug! Who knows: you may be surprised what gift you may receive!


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