6th Sunday of Epiphany
Archbishop Loren Thomas Hines
February 13, 2022
Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-10
1 Corinthians 15: 12-20
Luke 6: 17-26
The first thought that should come to our minds before we even face each new challenge is that, God is with us. If we only trust Him, we would avoid the many difficulties. In today’s gospel, we find out that Jesus had been attacked and criticized by the Pharisees and scribes for healing a man on the Sabbath. He leaves and goes to the mountains to pray. After He was done, He comes down to a level place. There was a great multitude from Jerusalem, Judea, Tyre and Sidon who came to hear Him. They knew that Jesus had something else to offer and they weren’t getting any of this from the scribes and Pharisees. In the midst of all of this, He turns His gaze at the disciples. He began by saying: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of heaven.” Peter, James and John had left everything to follow Him. They may have been “poor,” but because they followed Christ, their needs were met. Jesus was letting them understand that if He is with them, they will never be poor. “Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied.” The children of Israel were in the desert for 40 years, and yet they did not go hungry because God provided them manna from heaven. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” We have this idea that everything should be like a utopia; But God’s blessings are more than anything. “Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you, and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” Men are going to hate us when we follow the principles of God. If we are a threat to others, they begin to attack. We do not fight back because we have the peace. We have the security in knowing Him.
He goes on to say, “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.” There is so much unrest and anxiety for those who trust in their riches. They are not really at peace. “Woe to you who are well-fed now for you will go hungry.” “Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”
Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the Lord says; “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Our confidence should be in God. If God is our strength, we will have the joy. Jeremiah 17:7- 8 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Psalm 17: 14-15 “From men which are thy hand, O Lord, from men of the world which have their portion in this life, whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babies. As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I will be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” When there is a need, we should be reaching out to others and not only think of ourselves. Psalm 146:3 “Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men who cannot save.”
God does not change. From the very beginning of time, His plans were perfect. Peter, James and John left their professions. But what they received in return was eternal life. Our comfort should be in Him and not in material things. The challenge for us is that when we hear God’s teachings over and over again but do not apply them, it is useless. If we will just listen to Him and apply what we have learned, then things would really be better for us. Fear is not of God. If our faith is in God, we will not fail. We should listen to Him and follow Him. The Beatitudes’ message shows us what is eternal. We need not be fearful if our trust is in the Lord.