Balance With Me,
Painted by Debbie Criswell,
Painted in 2018,
Oil on Canvas
© Debbie Criswell Artist
Happy are you who are poor, who are hungry, who weep
Jesus came down with the Twelve and stopped at a piece of level ground where there was a large gathering of his disciples with a great crowd of people from all parts of Judaea and from Jerusalem and from the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. Then fixing his eyes on his disciples he said:
‘How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.
Happy you who are hungry now: you shall be satisfied.
Happy you who weep now: you shall laugh.
Happy are you when people hate you, drive you out, abuse you, denounce your name as criminal, on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice when that day comes and dance for joy, for then your reward will be great in heaven. This was the way their ancestors treated the prophets.
‘But alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.
Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.
Alas for you who laugh now: you shall mourn and weep.
‘Alas for you when the world speaks well of you! This was the way their ancestors treated the false prophets.’
Reflection on the Painting
In our Gospel reading today Jesus is telling us, ‘How happy are you who are poor; happy you who weep now; happy are you when people hate you…’. Really? Do we feel happy when people don’t like us, or when we weep or are in financial difficulty…? I don’t think any of us feel blessed when we go through any pain or sorrow…
In the second part of the reading, Jesus talks about the other end of the ‘happiness spectrum’, if we can call it that: ‘Alas for you who are rich, alas for you who laugh now,…’ It is easy in those happy circumstances to forget God and forget where our happiness came from in the first place.
So Jesus is prompting us to have a balanced view of the world and of our own lives. When things seemingly go well, it is important never to lose sight of the people who are less fortunate than us. When things are seemingly hard to deal with and a struggle is on our hand, remember the other blessings we have received such as our families, friends and a roof over our heads or a job. Jesus asks us to be balanced. When things are tough, focus on the blessings we do have. If things go well, put it in perspective and don’t forget those less well off.
Our painting by Florida-based Debbie Criswell is a fun take on living a balanced life. The black and the white cats are carefully balanced on a circle which is standing on another larger sphere. The cats perform a delicate balancing act. If one cat makes the wrong move, they may well fall…
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Readings related to Luke 6:17,20-26
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