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Sermon on the plain

Gospel Reading: Lk 6: 20-26

Raising his eyes toward his disciples, Jesus said:
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you.
and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man.

“Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.
But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestor treated the false prophets in this way.”

REFLECTION Blessed are you
The Gospel is the start of what is referred to as Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain because Jesus teaches a great crowd while on a stretch of level ground (cf Lk 6:17). It is the counterpart of Matthew’s more familiar Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1-7:27). While the Beatitudes in Matthew are addressed to the crowds that include Jesus’ disciples, Luke’s Blessings and Woes are intended for the disciples alone: Jesus raises his eyes towards them.

The introductory portion consists of blessings and woes, a theme central to Luke’s Gospel. Those who are blessed by God are not those whom the world considers favored. The poor and the lowly indeed appear as unfortunate in the eyes of the world, but blessings come from God. These are blessed because they mirror the person of the Son of God – Jesus Christ – who lives poor and is denounced as evil during his passion. In sharing the condition and fate of the Son of Man, the disciples share his look of tender mercy to the poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable. But they also share the joy and happiness of those who work and struggle for the Kingdom of God.

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