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Pastor’s Corner 2.13.2022

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.

-Jer. 17:7-8

Doing it My Way vs. Dependence on Divine Help

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

On this 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear the account of one of Jesus’ most famous sermons.  In Matthew’s Gospel it is called the “Sermon on the Mount” and is the longest continuous discourse by Jesus in the New Testament; it occupies three chapters of Matthew’s Gospel.  But today we hear the version of the Sermon, sometimes called the “Sermon on the Plain,” that is found in Luke’s Gospel.

A key feature in both Matthew’s and Luke’s version is the section of the sermon known as “the Beatitudes.”  In Matthew there are eight and in Luke’s version there are four which are then followed by four “woes”.  The word “beatitude” means blessed, rich or happy.  The Beatitudes represent a new set of ideals that focus on love and humility rather than domination and force.  If lived out, these Beatitudes bring happiness and blessing.

The beatitudes demonstrate a new way of living rooted in one’s dependence on divine help and guidance.  The passage from Jeremiah cited above is a good summary of what the Beatitudes are trying to say.  Blessings come when believers put their trust and hope in God, especially in the most difficult times of life.  Part of our fallen nature is the tendency to “do it my way.”  We are often taught from our youth to take control and make things happen.  In certain situations, such a “can do” attitude is quite helpful, but in the overall scheme of things, especially when it pertains to our eternal destiny, doing it “my way” doesn’t often have a good outcome.

The lesson of the Beatitudes and the passage from Jeremiah remind us that underlying all our efforts should be a steadfast dependence on divine help and a trust that He will provide when we fall short.  He will be there when we fear being alone.  He will sustain us when we feel we cannot go on.

Sincerely yours in Christ Jesus, the Way, the Truth and the Life,