Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2019

The imagery of Jeremiah in the first reading can help us understand more fully the sense of the Beatitudes recorded in St. Luke. Surely, none of us wants to be a barren bush, a bit of tumbleweed in the desert, tossed about by the wind. We would rather imagine ourselves as a beautiful green tree planted securely by the stream, filled with life and bearing fruit. Jesus in the Beatitudes is telling us that he also wants us to be full of life and that we will be if we are rooted in Him.

The four beatitudes recorded in this Gospel call “Blessed” those who are poor, hungry, weeping and persecuted. That does not sound very “blessed” at first glance, but in the context of the Jeremiah reading, we can get new insight into the blessing. The Lord is our constant companion in every moment of life. The Lord was also poor and hungry. He too wept and was persecuted to his death. If our hearts are “rooted” in his, we will not despair and give up when we face even the greatest challenges. We are not forgotten, nor will our struggle to change our world and build up the Kingdom of God be fruitless. The blessing lies in knowing that our lives have infinite meaning because we are children of God.

That blessing gives us hope and courage to move forward in our struggle for justice despite persecution. Throughout our Christian history, we have many examples of Beatitude people: Saints James and Luke in apostolic times; St. Francis in the Middle Ages and Mother Teresa in modern times. They were all committed to the poor, and thousands of others continue each day to defend the poor, the hungry, those who are weeping and those who are persecuted. We too are blessed and called to live as they did by doing what they did: rooting themselves in the Lord.

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