Today’s readings deal with Faith and Works. The prophet Jeremiah tells us “Cursed is the one who trusts in human beings, but blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord.” When we reflect on this we know from personal experience the truth of this quote. How often have we been let down when we relied on our own resources or those of others. We all have true and loyal friends, but none like the Lord. He is always there for us with that unconditional love. Our faith and trust in Him is the only constant in our lives.
St Luke’s Gospel tells us of Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount in which He gives us the Beatitudes. Our Lord calls blessed the poor, hungry, the weeping and those insulted and denounced. In Jewish society these were the outcasts of society. They were outcasts because it was believed that they had lost favour with God and were being justly punished for some sin, their own or their parents. Jesus goes on to denounce the rich, well fed, happy and go lucky, the very people Jewish society considered those blessed by God. He turns the Jews belief system upside down.
This Sermon on the Mount opens the New Covenant by Jesus between God and human beings. ‘I will be your God and you will be my people’, but not just a few – all are included, especially those considered outcasts.
Jesus calls us to a new reality, a new sense of right and wrong. Just as Jeremiah reminds us that we cannot rely on human or material things since they have no lasting value, only loving God and doing His will here and now will lead us to ultimate happiness now and in the world to come.
St. Paul, in the second reading, sums it all up for us. He states that if we follow Jesus only for benefits in this life “we are the most pitiable of people.” It is the resurrected Christ, who conquered sin and death and rose triumphant that promises us eternal life with Him. Paul writes, “If the dead are not raised, neither has Christ been raised, and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain, you are still in your sins.”
It is all a matter of faith, of trust in the care of the Lord who loves us without reservation. If we do trust Him and turn to him in all our needs we can be assured we will be blessed. On the other hand, if we only trust in things, woe to us. What is really important in your life? Be honest, what do you really, really value? Things? – the big house, the new car, designer cloths, fine food? Perhaps its recognition and praise by others. Yet we know from experience that all these things decay and pass away. It’s not long before that new car has a scratch or dent and the new car smell is gone, its just a used car. Human recognition and praise is here and gone before the ink is dry on the newspaper.
The only lasting things and the only things we take from this life are relationships, relationships with loved ones and with God. We come into this world with nothing, but we do take something out – relationships, especially our relationship with God. So as we go forth from this Mass, ask yourself – Where do I put my trust?