Reflection on the Lectionary Readings for
February 17, 2019
The Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today’s readings speak of an essential quality for the Christian steward — hope. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Hope is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christ’s promises and relying not on our own strength but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit (CCC 1817).” In many ways this is the very definition of a stewardship way of life — focusing on eternity as we live our daily lives and relying on God to provide for our needs and satisfy our deepest longings for meaning and happiness right now.
In today’s Gospel from Luke, Jesus describes the true richness of life that is possible for those of us who are willing to live as his hope-filled disciples. We are all familiar with this passage in which Jesus reveals the Beatitudes: blessed are the poor; they have the kingdom of God. Blessed are those now hungry because they will be satisfied. Blessed are those who weep because they will laugh. Blessed are those who are hated, excluded and insulted because they are disciples of Jesus; they will be greatly rewarded in heaven. Jesus is describing here the character of one who is living a life of hope – the life of a Christian steward whose trust is firmly rooted in God and who is focused on others and eternity. It is not always an easy life, but it is a deeply meaningful life and one that leads to eternal reward.