Blessings – Jett Villarin, SJ

Luke 6:17, 20-26; 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time

It is not only gasoline that is expensive these days. One of the most expensive things is trust. It is expensive because it is in such short supply. This is the age of mistrust.

It does not help that one of the cheapest things these days are words. Lots of words, little action, little truth. We’ve never read and heard so many careless words in our life than now. What to believe then? Who should we believe?

Ang marami, mura. Ang kakaunti, mahal.

Let us beware then of the plenty and cheap. Let us hold on to what is scarce yet of value. 

Christ our Lord tells us today to look into the plenty and scarce in our lives, and reverse our notion of who are blessed and who are not. If you have plenty of money, satisfaction, laughter, and fame, think twice before you say you have been blessed by God. If you are poor, hungry, weeping, and hated on account of God, think again before saying you have been cursed and forsaken by God.  

The point of our Lord is direct and simple. Those who are blessed are those who’ve been so emptied in life as to place their trust in God. Those who are wretched are those who have plenty enough to forget God and trust only in themselves and in what they have.

Let us therefore place our trust in God. Let us take care to renew that trust everyday.

Let us not be like a tree that grows near a stream, bears fruit, looks at its fruit and proclaims to the forest, this is made by me. It looks at its thick foliage, the fulness of its leaves, the strength of its trunk, and says with self-assured satisfaction: all this I have earned, I deserve, all this is because of me. It forgets the stream and sun, the earth and air that have been sustaining it all this time. It forgets the mystery of its being here, and replaces mystery with shortsighted and false clarities. It forgets the grace of its being fed with life, and replaces gratitude with entitled pride.

Let us be wary then of wealth, contentment, frivolity, fame and the many other positive things we associate with blessings. They are not bad in themselves but they can get in the way of placing our trust in God. When we are surrounded by plenty, plenty has enough power to make us forget God.

As we prepare for the elections, we note that all our candidates have had varying measures of plenty. To help our discernment, we can imagine who among them have been emptied enough in life to place their trust in God, and who among them when they ascend to power, who will likely be intoxicated by the plenty and forget God.

These days many of us are desperate and empty. We want to run away from all this and rightfully so. But if we cannot avoid running on empty, perhaps we can pause even if briefly to catch our breath and remember the very source of fullness and life. When we were running on plenty, we never really had the time. We can turn to God again who breathes life into us and makes us fruitful.

Let us renew our trust in God in this time of want and empty. That renewal entails just enough humility to confess that we are dust, yes, but dust come to life from the breath of God. It can mean just enough gratitude to not miss the Giver for the gifts we have received. And it can involve just enough faith to know that God is real, God is near, God can be trusted especially in this age of mistrust, when trust is expensive and in such short supply.

*image from the Internet

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