Wednesday of the Twenty Third Week in Ordinary Time
A casual reading of the woes made me quite uneasy. What exactly is the problem with being rich, full, happy and having a good reputation among others? Ultimately humanity makes sacrifices and works hard in order to attain riches, food, to have a good name and to be happy in life. But these woes are to be seen in the background of Jesus’ blessings to the poor, hungry, sad and the persecuted. The problem is not with being rich but not sharing the riches with the poor. The problem is not having plenty to eat but not inviting the hungry to partake of your food. The problem is not being happy but not in reaching out to console those who are sad and the problem is not in enjoying a good reputation among the people but not in using that name to stand up for those who are persecuted. In short, the woes are meant for all those who are blind: blind to the poor, hungry, sad and the persecuted. Luke explains it vividly through various parables: for example the parable of the rich man and the Lazarus. Lazarus was ‘lying at the door’ of the rich man but the rich man was blind and didn’t ‘see’ Lazarus (Lk 14: 19-31). The rich fool (Lk 12: 16-21) had a ‘bountiful harvest’ but was blind to the swarming number of poor people around him. on the contrary, Jesus is a good example of a person with sight. A clear example for this is raising the son of the widow at Nain (7: 11-17). The scripture says that ‘when the Lord saw her, he was moved with compassion for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Blessed are those who console the sad for they will be called Sons of God. Truly so, after this incident, people exclaimed: “God has visited his people” (Lk 7: 19). Let us not be blind to the poor, sad, hungry and the persecuted around us.