Weekly Missionary Reflection
6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 13 February 2022
Jer. 17:5-8; Ps. 1:1-2,3,4,6; 1Cor. 15:12,16-20; Luk. 6:17,20-26
In the Gospel of Matthew, this passage is known as part of the Sermon on the Mount, presenting Jesus as the New Moses, who taught the New Law, replacing the Old Law given on Mount Sinai. Luke’s version is shorter and not taught on a mount, but on a field or “level place” (v. 17). Jesus gave His teaching among the great crowd and His disciples. Before teaching, Jesus healed them from their diseases and cured those who were possessed by unclean spirits (v. 18-19). This is the first message for the ministers of the Gospel: Act before speaking! Do as I teach, proclaim what I have done. The message of the Gospel will be impressive and touch people’s hearts if it is animated. Rebuke and advice will have an impact if the listeners see an example.
Unlike Matthew, Luke used a direct saying: “Blessed are you…” (v. 20-23). Luke also added some Woes which was also spoken directly: “Woe you…” (v. 24-26). This pattern conveys the second message: all the listeners, including you and me, are directly involved, invited, and challenged. The Lord greets and censures us in direct way. “Blessed are you” here means a statement or affirmation, not a wish. Which types of listeners does the Lord consider as the “blessed” ones? The poor and those who are starving and weeping now. What a surprise and weird! In today’s world, this teaching is like a “heresy”. Poverty, hunger, and weeping are absolutely the dreams of nobody. The Lord speaks of the fact, of the real and concrete experiences of His followers. Those who are de facto poor, starving and weeping are called “blessed” as their life will totally change. In the Kingdom of God that Jesus is presenting, God will change the lives of His suffering people. Does this teaching look like an addiction or drug that makes people indolent and give up on their condition? Not at all! The Beatitude offers real optimism. Why? Because it is based on God’s proven work in history: He always defended the faithful suffering and oppressed people. He would defend and was on the side of His oppressed prophets (v. 23). The most authentic proof: God was on His Son’s side and justified Him who was blamed and sentenced to death by resurrecting Him.
Third, Luke’s version of the Beatitudes also emphasizes on present aspect: “now” (v. 21). The Christian Hope has future and present dimensions. God’s project will be perfectly completed in the future, yet the life of His congregation here must be restored from now. The Lord wants His congregation to act as a “sharing community”, where the poor and starving start to feel the care and help. The Lord expects His congregation to be a community where people are strengthening each other, where the weeping starts to receive consolation. We will become a “woeful” congregation if we just hoard and multiply our wealth, without caring and sharing. Jesus affirms that all those mainstays will vanish in the new world that He is proclaiming. The Gospel must be a beatitude that changes people’s hearts and conditions and restores their life now and here while getting prepared to enjoy its future fulfillness.
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER
Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of Indonesian Church of this month:
For Universal Churches: For the nuns and women living a life of devotion
We pray for the nuns and women living a life of devotion; we thank them for their mission and courage; may they keep on finding ways in responding to the challenge of this new era.
For Indonesian Churches intention: Plastic waste management sustainability
We pray that the individual or group effort to reduce and recycle plastic waste could lead to community empowerment efforts for it is supported by the government and social institutions.