For those who have lobbied long – a blessing on the long and steep slope as our country claws back some semblance of humanitarian treatment of those who come seeking help. For those who stand fast on border security and deterrence – a curse that weakens a tough stance that is mandated to sacrifice the liberty of the few to preserve the well-being of the many.
It is an interesting background for discussion on the lectionary gospel reading for next Sunday, Luke’s truncated version of Matthew’s Beatitudes seasoned with a series of woes. How are we to understand the nuances between Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and Luke’s Sermon on the Plain? The difference lies between the purpose for which each gospel was shaped. Matthew’s version has us seated on the mountainside reflecting on the call to a change of perspective. How do we respond to the revelation of the Cosmic Christ in Jesus in a way that alters our orientation to our life? This is our initial response to an epiphany (the unmistakable “lifting of the veil” to see all as it really is). Luke has us moving along the road of service and mission to the world in the name of the same Christ. The task is more urgent and our fresh perspectives are calling us to practical application. Blessings are immediate and so are the curses. It’s just the way of it, for we know immediately when we fail the epiphany. The good news is this immediacy of awareness, for it’s easy to see the way back onto the road. It’s not so easy for the will to catch up with the insight, but eventually, it can get there.
Yesterday, our parliament took a step in that direction. The blessings and woes, however, continue to remain part of the package. Epiphany keeps us on the road.