Beatitudes and Woes

Sep 10, 2014 | [post_view] Views


Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time



First Reading:  1 COR 7:25-31

Responsorial Psalm: PS 45:11-12, 14-15, 16-17

Gospel: LK 6:20-26



Jesus in our Gospel today presents the beatitudes and woes. He compared these two in order that we may understand that it is God who bestows these beatitudes and not the situation of people. Although both beatitudes and woes are conditions of the life of the people, the focus is God. Let us look at the beatitudes.

“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.”

Poverty, hunger, sorrow, persecutions in itself are not the beatitudes. If we read in between lines, we will discover that God does not want his people to stay in situations of poverty, hunger, sadness, or persecutions. This is the reason why He consoles them and He provides for their needs alleviating their situation. These depressing situations in life are mostly man-made. They can be due to people who does not care about others or it can be due to their own faults. Yet, whichever cause, if they cry to God for help, if they express their total dependence of God, their faith in God, then they open their hearts and minds to God’s beatitudes.

The woes that Jesus presented are situations in which the people seemingly do not need God’s help.

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.”

These people can provide for themselves. They can fill their own hunger. They can entertain themselves when they are sad. They can use their wealth and fame to make their life better. This is kind of person surely qualifies the woes Jesus taught. Those belonging to the woes are those who do not depend on God but on money.

The spirit of the beatitudes and woes therefore is about God blessing His people who depend on Him. If the poor, the hungry and the sorrowful work on their own to rise from their situation without asking for God’s help then we can say that they do not belong to the beatitudes. If the rich even in the good life they live depend on God for everything, then they belong to the beatitudes.  The beatitudes and woes therefore are not about the situation of the people but God bestowing His blessings to those who depend on His providence rich and poor alike.


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