The Gospel reading from the Mass for Wednesday of the 23rd Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 6:20-26. 

After calling 12 men to be His Apostles and healing all the demon-possesed and diseased in a large multitude, Christ begins His Sermon on the Plain, the summary of His New Covenant. Christ starts by confirming the stark choice men face of receiving the blessing of  the Kingdom of Heaven or the curse (“woes”) of damnation.  Blessings (rewards/praise/life) and curses (punishment/rebuke/death – Deut 30:19-20) are the result of God’s judgment upon the choices of men. Of note, Jesus offers different versions of the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Plain and the Sermon on the Mount, perhaps tailored to His audience. 

In the Sermon on the Plain, Christ confirms “blessings” and “woes” result from the choices men make.  Those detached from possessions and dependent on God (the poor) are blessed; those attached to material things and who reject God (the rich) are cursed.  Those physically hungry, suffer in penance and who hunger for God (the hungry) are blessed; those with plenty to eat, are gluttonous and who have no room for God (the full) are cursed. Those who feel deep sorrow over sin and society’s rejection of God (who weep) are blessed; those who ignore sin and the plight of the poor (who laugh) will be cursed. Those who are hated and persecuted for Christ’s (the Son of Man) sake are blessed; those who avoid publicly committing to Christ (when men speak well of you) to gain the favor of men are cursed. 

For the blessed, Christ promises entry into the Kingdom of God, that all their hungers will be fed (the Eternal Wedding Feast) and that they shall find great joy in the rewards of Heaven.  For the cursed, Christ reveals that they will only have the temporary pleasures of their riches while on earth and that they will find eternal hunger and sorrow in the world to come.   

Awed by Jesus ChristSon of God and Divine Teacher, Christ becomes man in the fullness of time to personally deliver the New Covenant, summarized in the Sermon on the Plain.  Divine King, Jesus reveals the Kingdom of Heaven and prepares men for the Spiritual Combat.  In the Beatitudes, the Divine Prophet gives man the definitive keys to happiness in this life and the next. Divine Judge, Christ confirms that men will be judged with some receiving eternal blessings and others, eternal woes. 

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) In the Beatitudes, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, authoritatively announces the Kingdom of Heaven.  Eternal with the Father from the beginning, reflect on the awesome fact that Jesus speaks from personal knowledge in His description of Heaven. 

2) The Beatitudes are Christ’s gift to men which provide the key to human happiness. Review the Catechism’s teaching on men’s Vocation to Beatitude (CCC 1716-1729) and pray for Christ to help you to mediate upon, memorize and to live out the Beatitudes in your daily life. 

3) Catholic men who fail to speak the truth to avoid being vilified (labeled as “hateful”, “bigoted”, “phobic”, “on the wrong side of history”, etc.) may receive applause by the perverted culture (“when men speak well of you”) but will be cursed (receive “woe”) for they have denied Christ and His Truth.  Renew your commitment to Bear Witness to the Truth  (CCC 675-677, 1816, 2471-2474) and pray for Christ to hep you persevere in the face of the unavoidable persecutions that come to those who love Him.