Select Page

The Image of a True Human Being

by Sep 13, 2023Friar Reflection

Luke’s version of Jesus’ first central sermon takes place on a plain rather than a mount as in Matthew’s Gospel. Luke remembers it a bit shorter, but substantially the same. Rather than continue with an emphasis on an external law and individual happiness and prosperity, Jesus begins by looking into the heart and soul calling us all to an internal conversion and service to others. Our current culture in the USA is based on the “pursuit of happiness” and that is individual happiness. This pursuit of happiness is divorced from God and even from much of any concern for our neighbors or our fellow citizens or even others in general. To top things off, we believe the “in pursuit of happiness” system invented by the founders is the best socio-political system in the world. In today’s Gospel Jesus is painting a picture of a true human being with the words of this inaugural address. He has a very different emphasis and a different goal in mind for us.

Jesus’ first sermon takes all those things that we distain and puts them in the first place. He says quite clearly: happy are the poor, the hungry, and the hated. These attitudes and experiences come from a life dedicated to service and love of others, even love of our enemies. This is the life of a true Christian. The rich, the full or satisfied, and the honored receive woes or alases from Jesus. Self-centeredness produces rich, satisfied, and honored human beings who live separated from God and neighbor.

Life among the poor in Peru was very different – with different vales. First there were large families with lots of children in the middle of real neighborhoods. As soon as you stepped out the front door you were right in the middle of everything. There was a neighborhood council, community workdays to build the public school, clean-up days, fund raisers for the sick – overall a true sense of living together and being a community. No one worried about certain inalienable individual rights. Life was giving to family, friends, and neighbors.

Jesus’ sermon on the mount is like an x-ray that comes to reveal who we really are on the inside. A Christian, a true human being, lives sacrificing personal life for the good of others.