A Sunday Reflection for the Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Lectionary readings are here.
The Gospel reading for today is the writer of Luke’s telling of what is more commonly known by the label we give to the writer of Matthew’s version: the Beatitudes. Luke’s version is shorter, a series of Blessings and Woes a part of a longer teaching to his disciples.
If you have been reading this blog for very long you’ll (hopefully) remember that in June and July of 2021, I wrote a series on the Beatitudes from the Gospel according to Matthew. And even before then, I wrote a few times about how the Beatitudes help us see and respond to the world around us more compassionately. They are the emotionally and spiritually mature transition from a list of specific rules to wise discernment of any situation in order to be more like Jesus and live from the image of God in each of us.
God gave us the 10 commandments through Moses to teach us how to love God and each other and how to live in community on earth, for the greater good of all. They are the basics, given to a restored people of God who needed to (re)learn what it is to love as God’s people. And then God came to us as Jesus and said “I’ve come to fulfill the law” and taught the Beatitudes. Jesus shows and teaches us how to live in communion with each other on earth as it is in heaven for the greater good of God’s Kingdom in the time and place we are.
Both the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes were given to help us build relationships, to live within an economy of love, compassion, and forgiveness. Jesus gives us the way to move from knowledge to wisdom, to be able to discern God’s path and plan in all situations as the world around us changes at an ever increasing rate.
The word ‘beatitude’ means ultimate bliss or a state of great joy, a state of being that can come only from living authentically as God created us, knowing that we are beloved children created in love, for love, and to love. When we choose to live in the economy of God’s Kingdom in the here and now, we are freed from the struggle of finding happiness outside of ourself.
We don’t always get it right and we often forget who and Whose we are and the Good News is that God is always waiting for us to return and help us remember so that we can reflect God’s love, compassion, grace, and mercy to the hurting world.