Jeremiah 17:5-10 • Psalm 1 • 1 Corinthians 15:12-20 • Luke 6:17-26
Jeremiah begins the readings with a comment on anxiety, using a tree to paint the picture. This tree, planted near a stream and with roots that grew towards the water, is not afraid of the heat, and continues to have green leaves in the hottest of weather. Neither is this tree worried about a drought, knowing that water flows nearby, and it continues to bear fruit in dry years. This tree lives without anxiety.
We humans can avoid much anxiety by rooting ourselves in firm principles. Jesus provides a guide to finding one's own principles, beginning with his observation that the poor are blessed. This idea is far from obvious; no amount of romanticizing a life of poverty can avoid the hard realities of hunger and deprivation that it involves. To come up with such a statement, Jesus must have spent a lot of time thinking about it. Rooting oneself in firm principles begins here. When one's principles are automatic, inherited from one's family, they may or may not provide good roots growing towards living water. It is only by a careful review of one's principles over time, a willingness to eschew those that do not fit one's own view of life, and an effort to find and live according to one's own ideas, that one begins to grow a self.
Jesus, always respectful of his audience, does not explain how the poor are blessed. He leaves us to observe for ourselves how poverty shapes people differently than wealth. He leaves the ultimate example of what he believed in how he lived his life.
Morning reflection: How do I want to live my life today?
Evening reflection: What principles did I act on today? Where did I act in ways inconsistent with what is important to me?