September 13, 2017
23rd Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Col 3:1-11
Gospel: Luke 6:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to his disciples, Jesus said,
“Fortunate are you who are poor, the kingdom of God is yours.
“Fortunate are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled.
“Fortunate are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
“Fortunate are you when people hate you, when they reject you and insult you and number you among criminals, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for a great reward is kept for you in heaven. Remember that is how the ancestors of this people treated the prophets.
“But alas for you who have wealth, for you have been comforted now.
“Alas for you who are full, for you will go hungry.
“Alas for you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Alas for you when people speak well of you, for that is how the ancestors of these people treated the false prophets.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
The second part of today’s Gospel reading repeats the word “Alas!” Card players are not afraid of this word because of the power of an ace card. He who keeps the ace has greater chance of winning a card game.
Not all card games, however, give superior power to an ace card. In games like ‘piyat-piyat’, alas is a misfortune since this game attaches the lowest value to the ace. Be careful with your “aces” then, especially if you are not aware what kind of game you are playing. Some have wealth, influence and health as their aces. Not all these aces assure you of superior winning chances.
In the context of today’s Gospel reading, “alas” is not as rewarding. It is, in fact, a curse. Wealth may be a person’s ace in this world but it is his curse in the next life. The curse is on the wealthy, on those who have never experienced hunger, on those who have never mourned nor wept, and on those who make a fine figure in public.
The Gospel also uses the word “fortunate”. The term is misleading. We are God’s children and we cannot leave our fate to chances by relying upon “fortune”. “Blessed” is the better term because it is a reminder that all the fortunes that we have are blessings from above. Instead of putting our trust in fortune, the wiser thing is to put our trust in the source of all fortune. It makes sense if instead of saying “Fortunate are you who cry now” one says “Blessed are you who cry now”. Sufferings can still be blessings to those who believe. Those who understand blessings in this manner have lots of blessings to count starting with sufferings. Trials embolden them as they count on Jesus’ promises laid down in the Beatitudes. – (Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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