Jesus promises happiness to the righteous and warns of woes to the unrighteous. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he build the Cardinal Virtues and grow in Beatitude and by seeking the Gift of Fortitude so he can be strengthened in the Spirit to continually strive to receive happiness in the Beatitudes.
6th Week in Ordinary time – Sunday Cycle C – Lk 6:17, 20-26
After calling His Apostles, healing the sick and casting out demons from the possessed among a large multitude, Jesus begins His Sermon on the Plain, the summary of His New Covenant. Jesus starts by confirming the stark truth that men choose to either receive the “blessings” of life in the Kingdom of Heaven, or the “woes” (curses) of death (Deut 30). Blessings are gifts from God to the righteous and include rewards, praises, and the gift of eternal life. Woes are the consequences from God for the unrighteous and include punishments, rebukes, and death. Of note, Jesus offers different versions of The Beatitudes in The Sermon on the Plain and The Sermon on the Mount, perhaps tailored to His different audiences.
In The Sermon on the Plain, Jesus confirms “blessings” and “woes” result from the choices men make. Those who are detached from possessions and dependent on God (the poor) are blessed; those who are attached to material things and who reject God (the rich) are cursed. Those who are physically hungry, suffer in penance, and hunger for God (the hungry) are blessed; those who have plenty to eat, are gluttonous, and who have no room for God (the full) are cursed. Those who feel deep sorrow over sin and society’s rejection of God (who weep) are blessed; those who ignore sin and the plight of the poor (who laugh) will be cursed. Those who are hated and persecuted for Jesus’ (the Son of Man) sake are blessed; those who avoid publicly committing to Jesus to gain the favor of men are cursed.
For the blessed, Jesus promises entry into the Kingdom of God, that all their hungers will be fed (the Eternal Wedding Feast), and that they shall find great joy in the rewards of Heaven. For the cursed, Jesus reveals that they will only have the temporary pleasures of their riches while on earth, and that they will find eternal hunger and sorrow in the world to come.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as He proclaims The Beatitudes: Jesus is physically Strong with a powerful Voice that can be heard by the multitudes; Divine Knowledge, Jesus offers His first-hand experience of the mysterious reality of Heaven, and offers Hope to those who suffer in the world but believe in Him; Divine Prophet, Jesus presents The Beatitudes in a poetic and memorable way which moves men across the ages; Divine Judge, Jesus confirms His Vindication (a part of Justice) for all men, including rewards (blessings) and punishments (woes) based on how men live their lives.
Build the Cardinal Virtues to grow in Beatitude
Realize: Practicing the Cardinal Virtues is necessary to live The Beatitudes: one is Prudent who weeps for sin; one shows Justice who serves the hungry, one has Temperance who takes on the spirit of poverty; one has Fortitude who endures hatred.
Believe: Reflect upon the Cardinal Virtues (CCC 1804-1809).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so I am guided by You to know how to apply the Cardinal Virtues in my daily efforts to live the Beatitudes.
Be fortified by the Spirit to receive happiness in the Beatitudes
Realize: The Beatitudes (happinesses) are Jesus’ gift to every Catholic man which provides him with the key to true and lasting human happiness.
Believe: Reflect upon man’s Vocation to Beatitude (CCC 1716-1729).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Fortitude so I am supernaturally strengthened by You to courageously persevere in joy in the pursuit of the happiness of the Beatitudes in my daily life.