“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.”

Luke 6:20

Friday, 03 July 2020

Luke 6:20-26

In Luke 6, Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God.” He promises that the poor will inherit something far greater than any of the riches of this world. He goes on to say that those who suffer now will not suffer in the kingdom (Luke 6:21–22).

This is a message that Jesus communicates again in his parable about Lazarus and the rich man (Luke 16:19–31). In both of these texts, Jesus indicates that the values of the world will be turned upside down in his kingdom.

Indeed, the word “blessed” refers to those who are “happy” or “fortunate” in God’s sight. Some measure of economic poverty, not necessarily destitution, was a familiar reality for most people in Galilee at the time. The lack of material resources would typically lead the poor to greater reliance on God. Their closer relationship with God is what makes them blessed. True happiness does not come from possessing the kingdoms offered by the devil (4:5–6) but from the kingdom of God, which Jesus says is theirs at the present time. In particular, this kingdom belongs to disciples like Peter, James, John, and Levi, who leave “everything” (5:11, 28)—that is, who voluntarily become poor—in order to follow Jesus.

This beatitude is better understood by considering its opposite: woe to you who are rich. A “woe” is a warning of coming judgment. The one who finds consolation now in earthly riches typically does not rely on God. Thus, it is difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom (Luke 18:24–25), though with God it is possible (Luke 18:27; 19:2, 9). For example, among the early Christians, those with wealth came to the aid of those in need (Acts 2:45; 4:34–35).

Who can I help today?

Loving God,
Thank you for all the blessings you have gifted me with. Help me to be more grateful in my life and allow my gratitude to overflow into generosity for those who are poorer than I am. Let me see in their lives, Lord, the closeness to you that sustains them. Allow me to draw closer to you as well. Let me see you in my life, as they see you in theirs.

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
See more from Matthew Charlesworth SJ
No Comments

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Click to subscribe to: