Summary: We come to a feast at which our Lord Jesus Christ is present. Let us find joy in our sorrow for sin’s forgiven and enter into His rest.
BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN (LK. 7:36-50)
Blessed are Those Who Mourn: these words of Jesus are perhaps better translated as “Be happy you who sorrow, for you shall be comforted.” How can those at a funeral do other than be sorrowful? How can they not mourn? What blessedness; happiness is to be found in that place?
Yet, this past week, many found occasions to comment on the blessedness of remembering great deeds as well as the eloquent, joyful, uplifting, often humourous words that came from a man who with other men of equal dedication and good will, changed the course of recent history.
Margaret Thatcher said, "And surely it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan’s life was providential". The truth of those words, that ghostly bit of history were given flesh and blood reality in our time when Michael Gorbochev visited our land, and paid silent tribute by laying his hands on the casket, not of an ancient enemy, but in memory who reached beyond national enmity to establish some trust, some friendship in order to avert war of unimaginable magnitude. Here was a man who, though limited and flawed as all men are, had risen above national stature to embrace and draw out even those we called the enemy and revealed in concrete ways the brotherhood of man.
Of course President Reagan did not bring the wall down singlehandedly, in fact, the wall did not come down until after his administration was over. But he had confidence in the rationality and goodness of humanity, and had faith in the righteousness of his actions that he dared reach toward people on the other side of the wall, believing that ultimately they would reach back. On the other side of that wall, from the end of WWII in 1945 until the wall finally came down in 1990 other men of good will, of that great generation were also at work. Among them Lech Walesa, the Polish labor leader and later president of a free Poland, a priest named Karol Wojtila later to become Pope John Paul II, and Michael Gorbachev. These, and many others, worked for a better world and peace among men, at the risk of their careers and very lives.
In fact, both JPII and Ronald Regan were shot, and nearly became martyrs. They in fact resisted unto blood in their struggle against sin; against the world’s brokeness.
So, in the midst of mourning, this past week, there was some joy, and general uplift in this country as we remembered a life well lived, and also those men and women of the greater generation who shaped the last half of the last century, and hence, our own world.
You blessed, you happy sorrowers, said Jesus on one occasion.
In today’s Gospel, we look at a mourner, a woman in deep sorrow. We don’t know the immediate cause of her sorrow, we only know that she seemed very much alone in the world and was shunned. We do not know her name, other than “sinner.” We know not the nature of her many sins.
Let’s get some background for the Gospel.
The scene is that of a meal at the House of Simon the Pharisee.