February 16

Luke 6:20-23

“Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” vs. 20

The beatitudes that open the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew are well-known to most Christians. There’s a beautiful symmetry in his account of Jesus’ description of his followers and it’s a favorite text for All-Saint’s Day. Luke also makes reference to the beatitudes as he recounts what is known as Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain. The first thing to note is that some words are left out of the first beatitude. It’s no longer “Blessed are the poor in spirit,” but “Blessed are the poor.” It isn’t that Luke believes Jesus doesn’t have empathy for those struggling with spiritual frailty…but he definitely wants us to know that Jesus cares deeply for those living in material poverty. That’s important information for those of us who are enjoying relative prosperity as we struggle in our life of discipleship. If we are truly committed to living as his presence in the world we will do everything we can locally and globally to address the needs of those who struggle with basic needs for food, housing, and healthcare. We will be encouraging legislatures to adopt budgets with ample provisions for meeting economic needs. We’ll support social service agencies and hunger relief programs with generous donations. The poor are always with us, and if they are to be truly blessed it will be through our hands and assistance.

Thought for the Day: What am I doing to help the poor?  

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