Rejoice in that day! 

Scripture     Luke 6:17, 20-26


Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

     Woe to you who are rich for you have received your consolation.

Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.

     Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry.

Blessed are you who weep for you will laugh.

     Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you,

revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.

     Woe to you when all speak well of you.



Luke’s sermon on the Plain is the counterpart to Matthew’s sermon on the Mount. This introductory portion  is a combination of blessings and woes spoken by Jesus to the crowds as he stood with them on the level plain just after he had come down from the mountain with his chosen Twelve. This is his inaugural discourse to the crowd of disciples gathered around him and you can tell from the outset that he is in command of his message. Unflinchingly, he goes to the heart of the matter and unveils the core vision of how to have a happy, healthy and holy life: Live the Beatitudes.  “Blessed are you…” Makarios, in Greek, means happy!



With strong, forthright speech Jesus starts making some radically new proclamations about what the Kingdom of God is really all about. Daringly and with deep heartfelt compassion and zeal Jesus turns their whole world topsy-turvy. What secular society sees as “blessings” - riches, possessions, comfortable status, power and popularity, Jesus sees as “woes”. There is a complete reversal of values in his way of seeing these things. They are truly “woes” for the human person and for the world as well. He looks with empathy on those persons who are still securely attached to the illusions of their own self-sufficiency and pride in the mastery of control in their own environments. There can be no wholeness, no transformation into the fullness of abundant life in God, unless there is a breaking up of these core obstacles. Human growth, spiritual maturation, real ‘blessedness’ happen when the moment of conversion breaks into consciousness.  And oh, how Jesus longs to bring all persons to that intimate union in love.



These beatitudes are hugely counter-cultural and radically subversive for they contradict and oppose much of the prevailing secular opinion. And for some of his hearers – then and now – this is a hard message and some will walk away sad. These ‘4 blessings and 4 woes’ directly confront the real economic and social conditions of humanity. We live amongst the poor, the rich, the hungry, the well-satisfied, those weeping, those laughing, the outcasts and the socially acceptable ones. Where is God in the midst of our human condition?  The “Kingdom of God is within us" and works at the gradual and – sometimes sudden - collapse of our false and wounded ego selves. There will be pain in the letting go and the surrender and this purification will cost us a suffering. At the same time, the fruit of God’s love inflowing us will bring us immeasurable peace and happiness, whatever our circumstances.     



What is so remarkably clear is that Jesus spoke with compassion and authority. His listeners were caught up in the grandeur, the nobility, the fervour for the truth and he seemed to touch all that was best in the human person. He blesses them because they are so close to the Kingdom. Jesus steadies us today in this generous and compassionate sermon saying with bold assurance that GOD loves the poor, the hungry, the sorrowful and the persecuted ones because you are the ones who know that you need God. You need something more than what you already have by your own efforts. You are thirsty and restless and anguishing with longing for God, for a more abundant life. This aching and thirsting and longing are actually what catapults us out of our false, ego self and into our deeper, true, authentic self. Here the indwelling God abides. The Kingdom of God is within you. God is our ‘enough’.  In this new awareness, we are truly satisfied and leaping for joy! “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy.” Yes, this is the first day of the rest of our lives. We ‘get’ the Beatitude message deep within the core of our beings and we are unable to contain it within ourselves.  We share the same urgent desire that Jesus expressed - may others 'get' this profoundly life-altering message and work together to build up the Reign of God in our midst today!      



Carrying Grace       I will rejoice today and leap for joy! 



#3 Betty Mellon 2010-02-17 19:26
As I reflected on the Beatitudes from Luke, the words that struck me were, "…God loves the poor, the hungry, the sorrowful and the persecuted ones because you are the ones who know that you need God." I pondered what is it like to need God when one is in the situation of poor, hungry, sorrowful and persecuted -- the rejection, aloneness, isolation, brokenness through the lived reality of one reaching out to God? Yet, somehow God is present in each one. The "Kingdom of God is within us." When we open to the other -- the poor, the hungry, the sorrowful and the persecuted, mysteriously an inflowing of God's love appears with peace amidst the happenings around. In my own experiences of turmoil and rejection when I needed God, I was drawn to simply love and when I reached out to the other in need, strangely I sensed the deep tenderness of God’s love emanating.
#2 arletteh 2010-02-13 21:07
Jesus came down from the mountain where he prayed. He is giving us ,with deep conviction and love, his best.He comes to a level place: here, all are equal.Jesus looks up from the heart of his reflections, and looks each of us straight in the eye:'YOU'.BLESS ED are YOU!. In order to find this levelling place, the rich must become poor, the well-satisfied must know hunger, those who laugh with delight must weep and sob ,and those who are of the "in-crowd", must know what it's like not to belong!Oh, Spirit of Jesus, Word and God incarnate, that all people, all of us, may,in the equality of our need and hunger for you,become One, as we experience YOUR WAY, YOUR lIFE!
#1 Mark Dickinson 2010-02-13 03:02
Recall the words of Moses at Mt. Sinai ... is this not another new beginning? For Matthew, Jesus is the New Moses, the New Deliverer, the New Way to freedom. The first covenant of Israel, proclaimed centuries ago at Mt. Sinai, has been expanded to a new covenant for all people, and all nations. Just as the focus is changed from DO NOT .. to be BLESSED. Hear the liberating words of Jesus, feel the power, live the blessing ... experience the transformation, a New Life that begins from within. Blessed is the God of all, the Lover of all, the Teacher of all. What more could we ask for?? What more could we desire?? "Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God; the LORD is one."
- Mark

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