6th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Happy are the Crucified
The sermon on the plain is Jesus’ first major discourse in the Gospel of Luke. Like the sermon on the mount in Matthew’s Gospel, the sermon on the plain introduces us to what Jesus is all about. Jesus challenges us to look beyond the pleasures of this life and to see that we are called to something greater.
Is Jesus saying that the good things of this life are bad? Is he saying that food, money, laughing, and comfort are evil? No. He is warning us that if these things are what are most important to us, then we will be lost. If we make the things of this world into idols, then we will receive the rewards that these things give, which are emptiness and despair.
The good things of this life are gifts from God, but we must always remember that they are gifts. We are not entitled to riches, pleasures, and comfort. It’s easy to see today that most people’s lives are focused on this world. They may say that they believe in God, but they live as though their stomach and their appetites are their gods. Entertainment, money, pleasure, and comfort are the gods of the modern world. These things can all be taken away, and then what will people be left with?
If our hope is in Jesus, then we are happy when we are hungry because we are reminded that this world cannot satisfy, and when we do have something to eat we are grateful because we see it as a gift from God.
One of the tragedies that took place in the church in the past 60 years is that many people, even priests and bishops, forgot this truth. They built churches that focus on human accomplishments and not on the work of God. For example, many of you will remember the statue that was supposed to be a crucifix here in this church. What did that statue tell you? It told you that you no longer need the crucified Christ. One of the most important things that Fr. Mitch did while he was here, he did many good things, but one of the most important things was to put up a real crucifix. This is because the crucifix is a stark reminder that happiness comes through the cross. If we run from suffering now, we will end up suffering for eternity. But if we embrace our crosses now, we will be happy with Christ for eternity.
One recommendation this week is that you spend some time meditating with a crucifix. If you don’t have any crucifixes at home, then you can get one from the CWL gift shop. The crucifix is essential to our faith. It is essential to being a true Christian. It is the path to happiness.