A reading from the prophecy of Jeremiah
Many of the people the prophet Jeremiah encountered were farmers who lived from harvest to harvest and depended on the land for their survival. In the passage read at Mass today, Jeremiah taps into that background as he invokes a metaphor for trust.
Jeremiah says, “Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose hope is the Lord.” Then he tells the people why they should have that trust. “He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream. It fears not the heat when it comes; its leaves stay green; in the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.” The key word is trust. The farmers who are his audience will understand the meaning of trust from this farming story.
What does it mean for you to trust in God? Has anything caused your trust to waver? Did that wavering become a crisis of faith? Has it been resolved?
“Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.” Amid the pandemic and so many other threatening issues, are you still a hopeful person? Who or what continues to give you hope?
A reading from St. Paul's first Letter to the Corinthians
(Chapter 15:12, 16-20)
For Paul and the early Christians, the most important belief about Jesus was his Resurrection and his promise that they too would rise. What about now, for you? Do you believe that you will have a new life with Jesus forever? Wow! That is breathtaking. Of course, the only other choice is nothingness. That is not much of a choice. Let us rejoice in the Resurrection of Jesus and ours as well.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke
(Chapter 6:17, 20-26)
Today, the Church reads from the famous Sermon on the Plain, similar to Matthew’s even more famous Sermon on the Mount. “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.”
“Leap for joy. Why? Who would want to leap for joy when being insulted, hated, and excluded?
Of course, Jesus knew that many of those who followed him would suffer not only those things but even death. He wanted them to know that death is not the end. They would live forever in heaven with him.
Do you think about what that means for you? Death is not the end but a new beginning, a new life forever with Jesus.
Painting, The Prophet Jeremiah, Sistine Chapel, Rome, Michelangelo Bounarotti.
Excerpts from the English translation of the Lectionary for Mass © 1969, 1981, 1997, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Bill Ayers was a founder, with the late singer Harry Chapin, of WhyHunger. Bill was a radio and TV broadcaster for 40 years. He is a member of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Church in Centerport, New York.