February 13, Ethics: a Sunday Scriptures blog

In this Sunday’s Gospel, Luke pictures Jesus giving a significant sermon. It’s a sermon that summarizes things Jesus said during his preaching career about how his followers should behave, and we’ll hear another portion of it next Sunday. Over the years I’ve met a number of former Catholics who have left the Church because “they are all hypocrites” or “they don’t practice what they preach.” By the time Luke wrote his Gospel around 80 C.E., there were numerous Christian communities in the lands around the Mediterranean. Just as in our day, how the community behaved attracted people to it or not. We hear “you” statements in today’s Gospel, but hear the “you” as plural — the community is the “you.” Luke is reporting sayings of Jesus that addressed problems in the communities of the first century. He reports Jesus’ teaching that many people are poor and hungry while others are satisfied and rich. Then Luke describes Jesus talking about two other problems that are more difficult to interpret but which seem directed toward discipleship: “Blessed are you who are now weeping…” Some Biblical scholars suggest Jesus is referring to those who are working for justice, who are longing for a righteous world, praying for it, but are disheartened and discouraged. And when Luke reports Jesus’ speaking of those who are ridiculed, excluded, hated, insulted and denounced, these are faith-filled disciples living in their first century world hostile to faith. Perhaps you agree with me that having faith in today’s agnostic world and addressing the seemingly intractable problems of wealth and poverty are two of the pressing concerns of us believers today. As our parishes and dioceses begin preparations for the world synod in October 2023, we are called to dialogue with others about these and other major crisis points for our world and our faith. Part of that dialogue, I think, also needs to be giving testimony, sharing why we “keep on keeping on.” Why do we keep believing in the midst of nonbelievers, and working in large and small ways to bring about a righteous world when change seems so slow? Sharing the answer to that question might be the most important gift we can bring to the synod discussions!

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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