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Vol: 46, No.15 6TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR ( C) February 17 2019  
the dead is equal to denying the resurrection of Jesus. Holding the position that Christ has not been raised can have disastrous consequences, such as, Paul’s preaching then is in vain and Corinthians’ faith stands nullified. This in effect means that they have not found a way out of their sins and that those who died with their faith in Christ have perished! And that those who have put their hope in a life after death have become the most pitiable people. Hence the truth is that the resurrection of Jesus makes the resurrection of the dead possible and real. The denial of the resurrection of the dead is certainly absurd.
The Lucan beatitudes and woes are a carefully constructed set, each woe contrasting with one of the beatitudes. The first three beatitudes are also to be interpreted as a set. The poor, the hungry and the weeping are not three different groups of people but three descriptions of a single group. Because they are destitute, they are also hungry and weeping. The fourth beatitude, to be sure, stands out, for it is much longer than the others and refers to the persecuted followers of Christ. The “poor” in the Lucan beatitudes means the economically needy, for they are hungry and are contrasted with those who are rich and full.
To a greater degree than in the modern world, for the Mediterranean society of Jesus’ time honour and shame mattered much. The rich stand out not just because they have possessions but because they have power and honour in society. The poor are those who can no longer maintain a position of respect in society. Either they lose the economic means for a decent living and then are excluded from society, or they are excluded and then lose their means of
support. The result is the same: they are both economically deprived and socially marginalized. When Jesus speaks the beatitudes, he is announcing to these people the happy news that they have been chosen by God to share in God’s kingdom, which will end their hunger and exclusion.
The evangelist mentions that as Jesus speaks the beatitudes “he looked up at his disciples.” The beatitudes are relevant to the disciples because they “left everything” to follow Jesus, thus joining the ranks of the poor. Jesus focuses on the disciples not only because they are poor but because they must minister to the poor. Thus, through the beatitudes Jesus is carrying out the mission announced in Nazareth of bringing “good news to the poor” (Lk 4:18). It may seem strange that the rich are treated so roughly here, but there is an underlying conviction that those who hoard what the poor need are held responsible before God. The beatitudes and woes present the same reversal of situation through God’s intervention proclaimed in the Magnificat (Lk  1:51-53). The woes would seem to say that there is no hope for the rich, but later teaching about riches in Luke will show that this is not entirely true. There is a possibility of repentance for the rich, although the way of discipleship will be costly (Lk 18:18-27).
Those in the Lucan audience who were poor may have been comforted by the beatitudes. Insofar as they have already experienced acceptance and received material support through the community of Jesus, these beatitudes would ring true, not for the future but also for the present. Those in the community, who are relatively wealthy, however, can hardly be comfortable while hearing these words. Their reactions might range from anger to anxiety about their place in God’s kingdom.
– AK
February 2019 (6th Week in O.T., Year I) Psalter Week 2
18 Mon (G) St Kuriakose Elias Chavara,
Gen 4:1-15, 25/ Ps 50:1, 8, 16-17, 20-21/ Mk 8:11-13
19 Tue (G) Gen 6:5-8; 7:1-5, 10/ Ps 29:1-4, 9-10/ Mk 8:14-21
20 Wed (G) Gen 8:6-13, 20-22/ Ps 116:12-15, 18-19/ Mk 8:22-26
21 Thu (W) St Peter Damian, Gen 9:1-13/ Ps 102:16-23, 29/ Mk 8:27-33
22 Fri (W) The Chair of Peter, Feast, 1 Pet 5:1-4/ Ps 23:1-6/ Mt 16:13-19
23 Sat (R) St Polycarp, Heb 11:1-7/ Ps 145:2-5, 10-11/ Mk 9:2-13 Visit us at:
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