6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sunday, February 17, 2019

First reading: Jer. 17:5-8

Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD. He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, but stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth. Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD. 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.

Second reading: 1 Cor. 15:12,16-20

Brothers and sisters: If Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some among you say there is no resurrection of the dead? If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is vain; you are still in your sins. Then those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.

But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Gospel: Lk. 6:17,20-26

Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.

And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “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. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”

In other words Fr. Joey Miras, SVD (Canada)

The Beatitudes are like Leonardo Da Vinci’s “to do” list. Some of them are: learn the measurement of Milan and its suburbs; get a master arithmetic to show how to square a triangle; ask Gianinno the Bombardier how the tower of Ferrara is walled; ask B. Protinati what means they use to walk on ice in Flanders; how to repair a lock, canal, and mill; get the measurement of the Sun; get an answer as to why the sky is blue; observe a goose’s foot; and describe the tongue of a woodpecker.

The comparison simply wants to highlight the beauty and the genius of the Beatitudes and the “to do” list of Leonardo da Vinci.

Looking at the list, one can only smile at its profane interest—woodpecker, goose, sky, lock, canal, mill, Sun, ice, tower city. They tickled Da Vinci’s imagination and inspired him to paint, calculate, measure and draw or sketch them, presenting them in artistic and mathematical forms and treatises. There was a sense of difficulty in executing what was in his imagination dependent on the way he framed his inquiry but he was able to do it.

The Beatitudes are the same. They are guides for moral living and are difficult to live out. They are simple; everyone knows what poverty, hunger, misery, hatred, violence, exclusion, and defamation are. They are perennial problems in any place on Earth and difficult to root out.

God, however, will usher in well-being, satisfaction, happiness, love, inclusion, and praise once God reigns. God will execute the plan if we all collaborate. As St. Augustine said, God can’t save us without us.

The martyrs and the saints are witnesses to these. Holy men and women lived out literally these injunctions. They fasted for days and even months and years, lived in isolation (but never lonely) and in prayer. They were persecuted, tortured and killed. They may not have survived but their endurance was a testament to the character they formed themselves to be.

At first glance both the Beatitudes and Da Vinci’s “to do” list may be impossible or just a product of fantasy. But creativity found a way of realizing and living them. This is where we all realize that human creativity has no limits. And it can lead anyone to new creative endeavours and achievements that reflect beauty and human imagination at work.

Anybody like Leonardo Da Vinci who follows the Beatitudes would appear like a misfit because not everyone does what Da Vinci did, neither does everyone do what the blessed did. But the fascination with the natural world in its many aesthetic and mathematical forms and the desire to live a life in a world marked by wounds and scars can only elicit a sense of marvel about the world we encounter each day and can inspire anyone to do something and make each moment of our lives better.

The expression “think outside the box” makes sense in this context.

Tags: Bible reflection, Witness to the Word