“Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage.”
A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 7:25-31)
Brethren: Now concerning the unmarried, I have no command of the Lord, but I give my opinion as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy. I think that in view of the impending distress it is well for a person to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek marriage. But if you marry, you do not sin, and if a girl marries she does not sin. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. I mean, brethren, the appointed time has grown very short; from now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none, and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the form of this world is passing away.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIA PSALM Psalm 45: 11-12.14-15. 16-17 (R. lla)
R/. Listen, O daughter; pay heed and give ear.
Listen, O daughter; pay heed and give ear:
forget your own people and your father’s house.
So will the king desire your beauty.
He is your lord, pay homage to him. R.
The daughter of the king is clothed with splendour;
her robes are threaded with gold.
In fine clothing she is led to the king;
behind her are her maiden companions, brought to you. R.
They are escorted amid gladness and joy;
they pass within the palace of the king.
Sons will be yours to succeed your fathers;
you will make them rulers over all the earth. R.
ALLELUIA Luke 6:23ab
Alleluia. Rejoice and leap for joy, says the Lord, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. Alleluia.
“Blessed are you poor. Woe to you that are rich. ”
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke (Luke 6:20-26)
At that time: Jesus lifted up his eyes on his disciples and said: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. “Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets. “But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. “Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. “Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
The beatitudes sound strange and contrary to real life experience. Nobody finds delight in hunger, no one prays to mourn all day and there is nothing to treasure in being literally poor. But how are we to understand these beatitudes? How can the poor, the hungry, the mourners be blessed and happy and the rich who have their fill of everything be called unfortunate? When all is well, we tend to be self-satisfied and imagine we have no need of God. What the words of Jesus mean for us today is this: Happiness begins the moment we let go of our ego, shackles and submit ourselves to the will of God.