This is a blog that I post to several times a week although not necessarily daily. These reflections are triggered by the scripture found in the lectionary used by many Christian denominations. While I am part of the Catholic tradition, these posts are not --or rarely--sectarian. I try to put myself in the space of a of Jesus Christ and listen to words that come to me as I read and pray the scriptures. Each post also includes a photograph. These rarely have any connection to the content of the post but are simply pleasing images that I capture as I make my pilgrimage through life.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Upside Down World of Jesus the Christ

20 And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are [a]you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are [b]you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23 Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to [c]treat the prophets Luke 6
It is difficult to side step these words of Jesus. This Sermon on the Plain--in Matthew it is the more familiar Sermon the Mount--comes immediately after the naming of the twelve apostles and is clearly designed to make clear the exact nature of the Kingdom that Jesus the Messiah had come to establish. It was precisely for the poor, the hungry, the mourning, the marginalized who would find fulfillment in the Reign of God established by this Messiah. In fact, the passage goes on to contain a parallel set of woes for the rich, the well fed, the rejoicing, the well respected. This is the seed bed from which all those reversal sayings of Jesus would come: the first shall be last; the rich, poor; those who lose their lives will save their lives, and so on.
The intent is to make clear that the Reign of God is not of this world and the ways of the world are simply not compatible with this new life and the Spirit of God.
Today's lectionary pairs this gospel with a passage from 1 Cor: "For the world in its present form is passing away." 7:31 While Paul and the early church may have been expecting a more imminent return of Christ than we have come to expect, the fundamental truth remains: This world and its way of being is slowly but surely coming to an end and so disciples of Jesus the Christ should be living a life that reflects the Reign to come rather than this world. In this new life, the poor and marginalized have a privileged place.
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