Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 13, 2022 Cycle C
by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvium Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine
Sunday Reading Meditations
Today’s Gospel says: “Jesus came down” (Lk 6:17). He descended from a mountain to a plain, where he encountered a great crowd consisting of his disciples and others. After healing the sick and casting out demons from the afflicted, he delivers a sermon on the beatitudes. The beatitudes are the life of the resurrection.
Jesus brings consolation and proclaims that the poor, hungry, weeping and persecuted are blessed. To be blessed means to be happy. Jesus came down from heaven to restore us and give us new life. As Jesus says in the Gospel according to John, “I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly” (Jn 10:10). Jesus came into this world to bring us everlasting happiness.
In today’s second reading, Saint Paul reminds the Corinthians and us of our eternal destiny and that the resurrection of Christ is central to our faith. This life is great and beautiful, but it is not enough. We were made for more than that which passes away. Saint Paul says: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all” (1 Cor 15:19). We believe that the best is yet to come. Hope of eternal life and the resurrection of the body fills our lives with meaning and gladness. As today’s Alleluia refrain says, “Rejoice and be glad; your reward will be great in heaven.” We regard our pains and struggles differently when we realize that we are pilgrims of the absolute. In this world, we can only experience a foretaste of the unimaginable glory of eternal life: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Cor 2:9). As Saint John says in his first letter, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2). What a promise the Lord gives us, “to be like him,” the divinization of ourselves!
In today’s first reading and responsorial psalm, a fruitful tree planted beside the waters exemplifies a life lived in union with God: “Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD” (Jer 17:7). “He is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade” (Ps 1:3). Trust in God makes us fruitful. Through the action of the Holy Spirit within us, as symbolized by the running water in the readings, we flourish.
A crucial decision must be made. As we can be blessed, we can also be accursed if we trust in human beings, instead of trusting in God, and follow the counsel of the wicked. Today’s first reading says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD” (Jer 17:5). The responsorial psalm says: “Blessed the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked, nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent but delights in the law of the LORD and meditates on his law day and night” (Ps 1:1–2).
In the Gospel according to Luke, Jesus follows the four beatitudes with the four “woes”: “Woe to you who are rich […] who are filled now […] who laugh now […] woe to you when all speak well of you” (Lk 6:24–26). The Lord tells us that we have two options: blessedness or accursedness.
Christian life is life to the fullest. May the Holy Spirit give us the grace of living the beatitudes proclaimed by Jesus. As we await our eternal reward, may the Lord give us hearts full of hope and gladness. Amen.