6th Sunday in Ordinary Time C
Will you be my Valentine?
That’s the question of the week as we celebrate Valentine’s Day on Monday.
Valentine’s Day is a day that’s focused on love – specifically romantic love. It’s a day when couples acknowledge, renew, and celebrate their love for one another.
It’s a time when one says to the other, “Will you be my Valentine?”
In other words, “I will give my heart to you! Will you give your heart to me?”
Hopefully, the answer is yes otherwise it would be an embarrassing and awkward moment.
Coincidentally, Jesus is asking us to give our hearts to him in the gospel today. Today’s reading is St. Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. You may recall that the Beatitudes are featured in Matthew’s gospel, too.
There are both similarities and differences to these versions of the Beatitudes. Matthew’s version takes place on a Mountain. Luke’s takes place on a level plain. They both speak about blessed people: the poor, the hungry, the persecuted.
In Matthew Jesus speaks about these blessed people in the third person: Blessed are the poor; blessed are the hungry.
In Luke, however, it’s in the second person: blessed are you who are poor, blessed are you who are hungry.
It’s as if Luke is portraying Jesus as speaking directly to us and about us.
On the level plain, he is speaking eye to eye with us telling us, “You who are hungry, poor, weeping, hated, insulted, denounced by others…
“You are blessed!” He says.
What's up with that?
He certainly isn't saying that it's good to live in abject poverty. No one in that position wants to remain there
He’s saying here that when we find ourselves in need and in a vulnerable state that’s when we give our hearts over to God and trust him!
Rather, he’s saying that hunger, poverty, suffering all lead us to God.
A growling stomach reminds us where the bread comes from in the first place. Having good things, blessings, should also lead us to God in gratitude.
The woe’s are peculiar here aren’t they? They’re not mentioned in Matthew’s version:
Woe to you who are rich, woe to you who are filled now, woe to you who are laughing now!
Jesus is not saying that all rich or contented people are going to hell while all poor people are going to heaven. Instead, he is warning those people not to give their hearts totally to worldly things and attachments: money, power, food, sex, whatever! Don’t rely on these things to give you satisfaction and meaning to life!
If you give your heart over to these things and not to God you will definitely be hungry and grieve and weep when they suddenly are taken away from you.
In the end to be a part of the Kingdom proclaimed by Jesus, our hearts are to be rooted deeply in the words of Jeremiah in our first reading today:
“Like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream.”
Connecting our hearts with the heart of Jesus offers us is the way to true satisfaction, true wealth, true joy.