February 13, Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Jeremiah 17:5-8; 1Corinthians 15:12, 16-20 & Luke 6:17, 20-26
Today, on the sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time, the Church invites us to trust God and His only Son, Jesus Christ.
The first reading from Jeremiah reminds us of the consequences of placing our complete trust in our abilities, human strength, and human beings: "Curse the one who trusts in human beings, who seeks strength in the flesh, whose heart turns away from the Lord." We are reminded that relying solely on our human capabilities will ultimately fail us, as our success and survival do not depend on them.
In the second reading, Paul equally makes the same point. Our hope must not be placed in this world or in our own efforts, but in Christ, who has resurrected to strengthen our hope for eternity. If we had only believed in Christ for this life, we would be the most pitiable of all people. In other words, life does not come to an end at this point. There is something greater than this world, and only our hope in the risen Christ can lead us there. Our relationship with Christ does not end here; it is eternal.
While our first reading began with a strong warning against failing to trust God, today's Gospel begins with a blessing for those who are willing to do God's will. The Beatitudes are a magnificent hymn that exhorts us to live a life of virtue, reflection, and complete submission to God's will.
Today's Gospel exhorts us to place our complete trust in God while anticipating eternity. These Beatitudes are for those who are completely and willingly willing to surrender everything to God. Additionally, the Beatitudes remind us that everything we do and work for here will result in eternal life. That is if we carry them out correctly and for the glory of God.
We hear an invitation or a challenge in today's Gospel that the majority of us do not want to hear. The passage begins with the following words: "To you, I say, 'love your enemies,'" Jesus says. However, Jesus' mission does not end there. He also instructs the crowds to "bless those who have wronged them and pray for those who have mistreated them."
Jesus continues by instructing them to "offer the other cheek." Jesus' followers must have thought he was insane! How many of us would even consider such a thing? What a case of being anti-cultural! They had no idea that this is exactly how Jesus would treat those who would later betray, condemn, and crucify him!
This may appear impossible for us at this point in our lives. The wound may be too recent, too severe, or too debilitating. And, indeed, it may be impossible for us at the moment. However, we can begin praying for the grace to be more receptive and forgiving of those who have wronged us. Alternatively, if we are not yet prepared to take this step, we can pray for the desire or will to forgive this person. This is an important first step! Is it possible to take a single step toward forgiveness? We must, however, remember that God sustains, confirms, and blesses our ways and efforts.
Thus, today's readings invite us to deep reflection. We must ask ourselves who and what we have placed our trust in. Placing our trust in God is the wisest course of action. However, we must undoubtedly make an effort.
Finally, the good news for us today is straightforward: nothing in this world can rob us of our inner peace and joy because our trust is neither in this world nor in man. Rather than that, our faith is in the crucified and risen Christ, the world's savior and hope. The psalmist succinctly summarized this wonderful news for us: "Happy the man who trusts in the Lord."
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.