link with Fr. Kevin's homilies for Year B please click
Sunday of the Year (Year
C) 17th February 2019
reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke 6:
Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece
of level ground where there was a large gathering of his
disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of
Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of
Tyre and Sidon who had come to hear him and
to be cured of their diseases.
Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:
How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of
Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.
Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.
Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse
you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the
Son of Man. Rejoice when
that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward
will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors
treated the prophets.
But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation
Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.
Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.
Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was
the way their ancestors treated the false prophets."
letter appeared in the press from an elderly gentleman who
was obviously poor in health and in straitened circumstances.
He admitted that earlier in life he had spent some time in
prison. In his letter he explained that many people had come
to his residence, social workers, church personnel, and neighbours,
to help him and to make sure he was not too lonely. 'They
all invited themselves into my home', he wrote, 'but not
once, did anyone ever invite me back to theirs'.
The tone of the letter was disappointment rather than bitterness
and perhaps we can sympathize with this. People were giving
of their time to him, but they were not giving of themselves.
In a sense, the visits of the well-meaning emphasised the
fact that this man was dependent on outside charity.
Jesus Christ invited himself into the home of humankind.
He became human like us and he did this for one reason only
- to invite us back into his own home, his heavenly home.
Paul says today that if Christ has not Risen from the dead,
then his mission is without meaning and if there is no Resurrection
from the dead, then Jesus is no more than a kind man who
comes to offer cold comfort in our hopelessness.
The truth is that Jesus Christ came to offer, what, in the
end, is the one thing that can make life worth living. He
didn't come to give us a little of his time, for a pleasant
chat, he came to give us himself; 'I came that they may have
life and have it more abundantly'. And in giving himself,
he offers us an opportunity to give of ourselves.
The heart of all that Jesus said and did is in today's Gospel,
'Blessed are you who are poor, yours is the Kingdom of heaven
.... but alas for you who are rich, you have your consolation
now'. Some people have seen in this 'upside-down' teaching,
no more than homely wisdom, while others have seen something
to take refuge in. When we are down and depressed and people
are against us, we can take consolation in today's Gospel,
that eventually we will get our own back, one day we will
be vindicated, and they will be the ones to suffer. Neither
of these views of today's Gospel approach the facts of our
faith. The truth is that Jesus is offering nothing less than
a share in his own life. Luke presents us with the stark
choice that disciples of Jesus most face. There are two contrasting
universes; the world of the kingdom of God, and the world
of those whose vision is earthbound. None of us is simply
an inhabitant of one or the other world:
we are all sinners. The question is whether we are aware
of the challenge and are prepared to begin moving in the
way of the Lord.
Today's readings present us with the main choice in life
that faces each one of us. In the words of the first reading
from Jeremiah, do we put our trust in men or in the Lord?
In the words of the Gospel, presented with such solemnity
by Jesus, do we seek the consolations of this life or the
consolation of being with Jesus? As Paul reminds us in today's
letter, Christ has risen from the dead, so we can place our
hopes in him.
Archdeacon of Glendalough