Weekly Reflection (17 Feb 2019)

6th Sunday Year C

Jeremiah 17:5-8
1 Corinthians 15:12,16-20
Luke 6:17,20-26

Theme of the week: Seek the kingdom of God, and let us persevere in our good work.

Whether you are at church or in your workplace, have you ever felt discouraged or disheartened, in spite of the good work that you do? May be it is when others discredit you out of jealousy; or perhaps it is when others sabotage your work because they feel threatened? The First Reading contrasts “those who trust in mere mortals and make mere flesh their strength” (verse 5) against “those who trust in the Lord” (verse 7). When you feel unappreciated in spite of your good work and you feel like giving up, ask yourselves: what is my motivation for doing the work? Do I do it to seek recognition; or do I do it to serve the community and to serve God? As the First Reading explained, one who pursues earthly goals is like “a shrub in the desert” and when the dry season comes it dies. In contrast, one who pursues heavenly goals are like “a tree planted by water”, able to withstand any dry spell that it encounters. The imagery used in this passage is similar to that used by Jesus in the parable of the sower (Mt 13:3-8). We are urged to be like the seeds sown on good soil, where will bear fruits in plentiful. My dear brothers and sisters, let us understand that earthly treasures can never fully satisfy us. As St Augustine once said, our hearts remain restless till it finds refuge in the Lord.

The Second Reading was written in response to some Corinthians who did not believe in the resurrection of the body. In the passage, Paul explains a fundamental belief of our faith. If the Corinthians are right that there is no resurrection, then Christ has not resurrected. If Christ has not resurrected, he is not God. If Christ is not God, his suffering and death would serve no purpose in our salvation. In other words, our faith is a lie. If our faith is a lie, then we the faithful are a pitiful lot indeed (verse 19)! Thankfully, the opposite is true. Paul goes on to explain that not only has Christ resurrected, we in turn will be resurrected with him. As Jesus so aptly explained when questioned by the Sadducees who also did not believe in the resurrection, our God is “the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (Mt 22:32). Our God is not God of the dead, but of the living. Indeed “Christ has been raised from the dead”, paving the way for our own resurrection (verse 20). And this is the single greatest hope of all humanity – past, present and future.

In the Gospel this week, Jesus taught us the Beatitudes. There are two versions of the Beatitudes – that in the Gospel of Luke and that in the Gospel of Matthew. Between the two, the common beatitudes are :

  • Blessed are the poor, the kingdom of God is theirs.
  • Blessed are the hungry, they shall be filled.
  • Blessed are those who mourn, they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of God, their reward is great in heaven.

When we put the Beatitudes in the context of the First and Second Readings this week, a great revelation is before us. Our resurrection is the greatest promise given to us by God, that we will live in eternal happiness in his Presence. Let this be our heavenly motivation for all work we do on earth, whether in the church or at the workplace. When our good work is discredited, sabotaged or unappreciated, do not give up. Keep our heavenly goal in sight all the time. For those mourn will be comforted; those who are persecuted will be rewarded.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.” (Mt 6:33) Peace be with you.


 


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