Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon.
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for the kingdom of God is yours.
Blessed are you who are now hungry,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who are now weeping,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
and when they exclude and insult you,
and denounce your name as evil
on account of the Son of Man.
Rejoice and leap for joy on that day!
Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.
For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have received your consolation.
Woe to you who are filled now,
for you will be hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now,
for you will grieve and weep.
Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false
prophets in this way.”
Jesus declares "blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man" (Luke 6:22).
In the early church, this is played out exactly when the apostles are flogged for preaching the name of Jesus: "as they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name" (Acts 5:42).
In many societies today, professing that Jesus is Lord can still mean a flogging or worse. In the UK, giving our lives completely to Jesus is mostly inconvenient: it can mean we lose friends, open ourselves to ridicule and shame. The Gospel tells us to not only accept these challenges but to rejoice when we encounter them.
St Paul urges us to "rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances" (1 Thessalonians 5:16.) Always, continually and in all circumstances - even when we are being flogged, mocked and rejected. Only hearts overflowing with love for Jesus could make this a reality for us as disciples.
Brothers and sisters, Jesus the Bridegroom asks for your hand in marriage. If you say yes to this marriage, you will forsake all others for Him. Jesus’ proposal to us means that from now on, we find all comfort, all satisfaction, all goodness, all joy in Him.