Gospel Reflection-Wednesday (7 September) – 23rd week of Ordinary Time – The Sermon on the Plain
Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of Luke (6: 20-26) in which Jesus tells his disciples what they need to do to experience the kingdom of God.
Fr Paul says Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and Luke’s Sermon on the Plain, which we are reading from at the moment, are both collections of the sayings of Jesus about the basic conditions of Christian living. Both begin with a set of ‘Beatitudes’(as we call them), announcing who is especially blessed by the Lord.
Matthew’s set of eight Beatitudes focuses more on spiritual qualities, poor in spirit, hunger and thirst for justice, whereas Luke’s four beatitudes here are more directed on the circumstances of life.
Here, Fr Paul notes, Jesus turns the world upside-down. His gospel or ‘good news’ comes to the poor, the neglected, the oppressed. True blessedness does not consist in wealth, fame, or festivities. It is those who struggle now who will receive a lasting reward.
Throughout this gospel though, runs a thread of warnings about the dangers of being content, and we seldom pay attention to warnings unless they really stand out!
In this particular gospel, Fr Paul notes, the worry of those who have plenty and how they should use their what they have for the benefit of others, is at least as great as those who worry about how to survive.