Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Sister Agnes Nelson, SNDdeN

Feb 9, 2022 | Gospel Reflections

February 13, 2022

Luke 6: 17, 20-26

Today we are presented with very familiar words from the Scriptures – the Beatitudes, yet, I was struck anew by the less-used Luke’s version:

Happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God.
Alas for you who are rich: you are having your consolation now.

Happy you who are hungry: you shall be satisfied.
Alas for you who have your fill now: you shall go hungry.

What is it about the poor that makes them happy? Is it because they are not filled with themselves?
There is a lovely story about a young seeker who is invited to the house of the Master. The student rambles on about all his spiritual experiences, his insights and skills and his pet theories. The Master listens silently and begins to pour a cup of tea. He pours and pours and when the cup is overflowing he keeps right on pouring. Eventually, the student notices and interrupts his monologue to say, “Stop pouring! The cup is full.”
The Master replies, “Yes, the cup is full and so are you.”
The lesson is clear. Only when we are empty of self can we receive.
So many of us find it difficult to be still and empty, to listen to others, to listen even in prayer.

Alas for you who are rich for you are lacking in openness and receptivity.

Let us pray for the gifts of stillness, of openness, of humility of heart.
Then indeed, we will be both rich and happy.

Happy are you who are hungry.

Is there something for which I really hunger?
For justice? For peace?
Maybe there is a yearning deep inside, a longing for something that forces us outwards?
There is a lovely hymn which always touches something deep inside me:

There is a longing in our hearts O Lord for you to reveal yourself to us.
There is a longing in our heart for love, we only find in You our God.

The verses are more concrete naming the things for which we might long:

Justice, mercy, sorrow, wisdom, courage…

Alas for you who have your fill now, you shall be hungry.

Let us pray that our appetite for justice, peace and mercy may be strengthened for then we will find real happiness.


Luke 6: 17, 20-26

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.”




Meet Sister Agnes Nelson, SNDdeN

Sister Agnes Nelson entered the Congregation in 1965. She taught in Primary and Secondary Schools and worked for four years in a Family Learning Unit. Then from 1983-84 she studied the SPRED Method – a catechetical programme for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Chicago. Agnes returned to Scotland and has been involved in SPRED ever since. The work is amazingly life-giving despite the uphill struggle to support these people, and their families, to take their rightful place in the parish community. Training the catechists, who are all volunteers, is a delight. Scotland has proved to be a rich soil for this ministry as SPRED is now established in five dioceses and at present there is outreach to England and Malta. Malta SPRED has now been established from Glasgow.