In our first reading we heard Jeremiah speak of people as if they were trees planted by a running stream and who grow by stretching out their roots to meet the water. These are people who trust in God. But he first spoke of people as if they were trees planted in a barren desert, surrounded by dust and despair. These are people who trust in themselves, instead of God. They don’t grow, because they don’t have God’s nourishing water for their roots. God’s nourishing water is His love for us, the graces He gives us.
Today, we hear Luke’s version of the Beatitudes in his “Sermon in the Plain.” He is speaking of those struggling with everyday life, the poor, the hungry, those who are hurting, physically or spiritually, and those who are ridiculed and persecuted for their belief in Christ. These are the blessed of God. Rejoice, your reward will be great in heaven!
Jesus also says woe to the rich, woe to the satisfied, woe to the happy and woe to those who are always spoken well of. Jesus is not saying that it is wrong to be rich, satisfied, happy or well thought of. What He is saying is that if we have received these gifts from God and do not share them with those in need, then woe to us!
When we truly seek the love of God, then we should seek God’s love in each other. Each of us is created anew in God’s image by our baptism and each of us is called to love God, by loving each other in what we say and in what we do. We show our love of God and our gratitude to God, by what we do, as well as what we say and what we believe. Faith without good works is an empty faith! An empty faith has no roots that reach out to God’s nourishing water. This empty faith has no eternal reward!
– Bishop Roy Campbell