Wednesday, February 13, 2019
“Blessed are you who are poor; for yours is the kingdom of God… But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation.” [Luke 6:20b, 24]
The passage this Sunday is known as the sermon on the plain, for the text says that “Jesus came down to them and stood on a level place.” A crowd gathered just as was recorded in Matthew in the text known as the Sermon on the Mount, which begins with the Beatitudes or the litany of “Blessed are the…” Luke takes a different tack, because he doesn’t only address those who are blessed, but offers a warning to those who think they are blessed. Woe to the rich. Woe to the full. Woe to those who laugh now. Woe to those spoken well of. The “woe” acts as a wake-up call to those who are comfortable with the way things are, even though others around them are suffering. If we are honest with ourselves, we probably all need to hear a “woe” every now and then. We need to be reminded that even when all is well for us, others are still suffering. We need a “woe” every now and then so we don’t become myopic, that is, only concerned with what concerns us. Or as Martin Marty coined after co-opting Finley Peter Dunne’s phrase about newspapers, “[God] comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.” Luke sends a wake-up call this week, so be at prayer asking God where you need to wake-up!
Comforting and afflicting God, when life is difficult your compassion enfolds me. Yet, when I take things for granted and get too comfortable with the way things are, you are quick to send a wake-up call. Help me to be humble, always ready and willing to have my comfort disrupted for the cause of Christ. Amen.