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Blessings and Curses • Breaking Open the Word at Home

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the readings for this week, February 17, we move from the continuous comfort of the past several weeks to some stark warnings.

by Jen Schlameuss-Perry

In the first reading, Jeremiah, who really has a way with words, shows us the difference between what happens when you put expectations on people versus when you put your trust in God. One leaves us desolate and burnt out, the other is life giving and nurturing. Our Psalm echoes that theme, singing, “Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.”

The second reading takes us to the crux of the First Letter to the Corinthians—chapter 15. Paul calls out those who don’t believe in the resurrection saying that if Jesus didn’t raise from the dead, and if we don’t, then our faith would be pointless. But, if we do believe in the resurrection, then we have to listen closely to the Gospel because our lives depend on it.

That Gospel is Luke’s account of the Beatitudes. While Matthew focuses more on the spiritual side of things, Luke brings them home in a very material way. Jesus comes and stands on “level ground” with us. Blessed are the poor…blessed are the mourning…blessed are the uncomfortable. And the flip side is a warning to the comfortable, for we will be afflicted. Those who have, if they don’t use their goods and their gifts to bring comfort to those who do not have, will lose everything.


Jeremiah 17:5-8
Blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD.

Psalm 1
Blessed are they who hope in the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:12, 16-20
But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Luke 6:17, 20-26
“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.”

You can read this Sunday’s readings here:

Scriptures for the Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle C

Break Open the Word with Your Family


How do people help you feel better when you’re sad? How do you help people feel better when they are sad?


Have you ever put your hope or your happiness in the hands of a human being? How did that work out? Have you ever put your hope or your happiness in the hands of God? How did that work out?


Today’s readings make a connection between our hope in the resurrection and our charitable response to those in need. How does your belief in the resurrection challenge you to respond to those who are in need?

A little lectio

The ancient practice of prayerfully reflecting on bits of Scripture is known as lectio divina. Want to try it out with your family? Head over to Lectio Divina for Kids to find out how to adapt this prayer practice for your kids.

A little Bible study

Want to do a little Bible study with your kids? Here are some tips:

  • During Ordinary Time, the Church pairs the Old Testament and New Testament readings in a way that each sheds light on the other. Ask your kids to look for the common theme connecting the two readings. (Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it is subtle.) How does the “dialogue” between the readings help you understand them better?
  • Get a New American Bible, Revised Edition, and take a look at the footnotes for these readings. How do they change your understanding of what is going on?
  • Take a look at the context for the readings—what happens before, or after?
  • Read the NABRE’s introduction to the book of the Bible that the readings are taken from. How does that help you understand the readings?
  • If you don’t have a copy of the NABRE at home, you can view it online at the USCCB website at the Daily Readings web page. (The link will take you to today’s reading; click forward or backward on the dates to get to Sunday’s readings.)

For even more resources for breaking open this Sunday’s readings, head over to The Sunday Website.

The image for Breaking Open the Word at Home is taken from a 17th century illuminated manuscript by an anonymous (but very talented) artist. The text is from the beginning of the Book of Sirach, chapter 1, verses 1-12, which begins: “All wisdom is from the Lord and remains with him forever.”

Follow Jerry Windley-Daoust:

Publisher, Gracewatch Media

Jerry Windley-Daoust is a writer, editor, and father of five. He writes essays and stories at Windhovering and is the show-runner for Gracewatch Media, a small Catholic publisher. You can follow his latest publishing projects at gracewatch.org.

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