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Sunday Soundbite for February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycle C

February 17, 2019

 

Over the years I’ve had occasion to meet men and women who are single-minded in their pursuit of justice, and their dedication to helping those on the margins of society. One thing most of these folks have in common is their ability to get right to the point. Hello, I’m Franciscan Father Greg Friedman, with the Sunday Soundbite for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time.

That’s the feeling I get from the Gospel for this Sunday. We’re all familiar with Matthew’s presentation of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount.” Today, Luke offers us a sermon of Jesus as well. But the setting isn’t a mountainside. Rather, the Lord stands on a stretch of level ground.

And Luke’s version of Christ’s “Beatitudes” is also different from Matthew’s. They’re shorter, more direct, and focus more on the physical reality of poverty. In Matthew, Jesus speaks of the “poor in spirit”; in Luke, he says, “Blessed are you who are poor.” And the blessings are quickly followed by a list of woes for those who are rich and satisfied.

Luke’s Gospel overall is known for a focus on the poor. The fact of enduring poverty or other troubles seems to offer a perspective on God which helps us realize that we need to depend on God for everything. That’s a challenging message, one that we nevertheless need to hear. And we can thank Luke for capturing that part of what Jesus came to proclaim.