Tuesday, September 06, 2005




Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is
above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what
is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is
hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too
will appear with him in glory. Put to death, then, the parts of you
that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the
greed that is idolatry. Because of these the wrath of God is coming
upon the disobedient. By these you too once conducted yourselves, when
you lived in that way. But now you must put them all
away: anger, fury, malice, slander, and obscene language out of your
mouths. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old
self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being
renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here there is not
Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian,
slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.

LUKE 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 ancestors treated the false prophets in this way."

The beatitudes, as they are given by Matthew, are spiritual attitudes
required for entrance into the kingdom of God. "Blessed are the poor
in spirit . . . blessed are those who hunger and thirst for
righteousness." Luke's beatitudes, however, address people who here
and now are poor, hungry, painfully sad, people who are hated because
of Jesus. These people, Jesus says, are blessed. Why? . . . in
what sense are they blessed?

Luke then shows Jesus pronouncing his `woes,' or curses. He takes the
same concrete approach as with the beatitudes. You are cursed, you who
here and now are rich, who have full bellies, who now laugh, who are

What's behind Jesus' values? What does he see in poverty, in hunger,
in sadness and in persecution that he should think them blessings from
God? Are we to embrace destitution? Are we to give up our efforts to
raise the poor out of their poverty? Are we to starve ourselves? Are we
to search out sorrow and persecution?

Fr. Donders suggests that the people Jesus is addressing have come out
purposely to listen to him. Jesus gives them hope. They want their
lives changed. They're longing for integrity in their world, respect
for human dignity, justice for the oppressed, joy in living. They want
Jesus to tell them how they are to bring about these changes. These
people are blessed, therefore, because they know what society lacks and
because they want change, newness in their lives.

Those who are complacent about the present situation, who themselves
are comfortable, not at all hungry, filled with laughter, in no danger
of persecution. They don't come out to listen to Jesus, they're quite
happy with the status quo. They don't want change. They're cursed,
Jesus says, because they're living in the present and have no hope for
the future.

But however Jesus' words in this passage are to be interpreted, one
thing is clear: there is between Jesus' values and the values of the
world a dichotomy, an absolute contradiction. Jesus looks at the poor,
the hungry, the sad and the persecuted and calls them blessed. He
looks at the rich, the well fed, the happy, those free from
persecution. He calls them cursed. There is no doubt about his

A question each of us has to answer: which of these value-sets do we
embrace as our own?

"Lord, increase my hunger for you and show me the way that leads to
everlasting happiness and peace. May I desire you above all else and
find perfect joy in doing your will."

We pray ...
- for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the
- for the speedy recovery of Pacita Ocampo.
- for all the victims of hurricane Katrina.
- healings for Judy, Rich, Pat S, Melinda, Nathan, Mary, Anne, Von &
- for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
- Wedding Anniversary: Manny & Milette Narciso
- for world peace and reconciliation.

Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our
prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.

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Have a good day!

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