We continue our in-depth look at Luke’s Gospel as we read Luke throughout 2016. To start with read chapter six of Luke, and then spend a few moments reflecting on the thoughts below.
Sometimes life is full of blessings and challenges and in many ways this is what we see in Luke Chapter 6. In the beatitudes verse 20-22, we receive reassurance from Jesus that when times are hard God will be with us, and the challenge of this life will not endure. We are reassured that the poor will inherit the Kingdom of God, and when we hunger we will be satisfied. We are comforted that when we cry this will be followed by a time of laughter.
And yet as is so common in the Gospel, we are reminded that life cannot always be good. Life will always have challenge. In the longer to medium term we will all have pain, and will all have times of challenge. Jesus tells us that those of us who are fed now will also go hungry; if we are rich now we have already received our regard from God.
The wisdom of the Beatitudes is clear, when we acknowledge that somehow it’s in our greatest challenges that many of us are most fervent about our spirituality, and therefore often feel closest to God. It has been said even the committed atheist prays as the plane goes down. It’s almost as if in the greatest trials in life, when we may even find ourselves doubting in God, that we are reassured that God is love and God reaches out.
And yet Christianity is not just soft and fluffy, it challenges us to the very core of our human nature. I am sure that I am not the only one who finds it hard to show love and understanding to those who treat me badly; to love our enemies and not just your friends is never easy. And yet the Gospel challenges us to do this. Even harder, the Gospel challenges us not to look at the speck in our neighbour’s eye without dealing with the plank in our own.
The Paradox of love and challenge runs through the very core of chapter six of Luke’s Gospel. Of course there is no surprise that it ends in reassurance. Build our houses, our homes (our lives) on the solid foundation of God’s way (the teachings of the Gospel) and when the flood comes, no matter how hard it is or the water rises, well, we are reassured all will be well.
The sixth chapter of Luke invites us to think of the paradox of life. Of course as we prepare for Palm Sunday and Holy Week, the whole season of Easter invites us to reflect on the paradox of joy and grief, of life and death.