1 Corinthians 7:25-31
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
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 ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”
Good News Reflection: Blessings and woes
Finish this sentence: “Woe am I; I am in misery because ___.” In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus explains that as Christians, our woes are based on what is temporal (earthly, temporary) and we are blessed when we repent and move beyond it to live in the kingdom of God.
Use this scripture like a personal checklist:
Blessed are you who are poor: When the awareness of what you lack causes you to turn to God for help, you can enjoy the riches of his kingdom, including the wealth of God’s comfort.
Blessed are you in your hunger: Since no human person can satisfy all your needs, God’s love fills in the gaps.
Blessed are you who are weeping: Because you regret sinning, you mourn that it divided you from God and you rejoice that Jesus has mercifully restored you to union with God.
Blessed are you when people hate you on account of your faith: Rejected and persecuted by those who don’t understand your faith, you run to Christ for love, which he gives you through others in his community of believers, where friendships last for all of eternity.
But woe comes to us when our happiness depends on how others treat us and how quickly we get whatever we want. The word Jesus used, which we’ve translated as “woe,” is full of regret and compassion; it’s not a punishment.
Woe to you who are rich: If we cater to our earthly desires, we take pride in our accomplishments and we neglect our need for God. Thus, we only have what we have, because we fail to open ourselves to the surprise blessings that God wants to give us.
Woe to you who are now full: It’s an illusion to think that we can get everything we want and feel satisfied for very long. Only in heaven can we be fully satisfied.
Woe to you who laugh now: If we’re short-sighted and temporal-minded, we laugh at those who wait upon God, for it seems like we have the better life. But when a problem arises that we can’t readily fix, we lose our joy.
Woe to you when all speak well of you: How long does the praise of others last? Their approval disappears the moment we fail to be perfect. We need to realize that it’s only God’s approval that really matters and that he’s pleased with us for trying to imitate Christ even if we fail.
Life on earth is short. As today’s first reading says: Time is running out. You or I could die at any moment. To be blessed by that reality, we have to understand that eternal happiness only comes through a close relationship with God.
You, Lord, are our nourishment. Without Your Word, we die. Without Your strength, we accomplish nothing. Don’t let us believe that we already have everything, if You are not our support. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica