CHRIST AND THE POOR
Monday, April 9, 2018
Who are the poor and why was Christ so concerned about them? “The entire crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming from Him and healing them all. Looking up at His disciples, Jesus said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” – Luke 6:19,20
Not often are these two verses kept together and in sequence. We usually hear the quote beginning, ‘Blessed are the poor”. But when kept together, we observe the context … the large crowd pressing in on Christ and His disciples … the power flowing from Him … the excitement of the miraculous healings. And then, a detail often overlooked. In the context of this exciting success of the ministry … Christ looks up at His disciples and utters the words to them. “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the realm of God.” We are the poor. We are not to be among the wealthy, but rather no matter our income … we are to identify with the poor; we are family with them and thus we share both our needs and our resources.
At another time, Christ told His disciples, “It is so difficult for the wealthy to enter into the realm of God.” To be wealthy does not help or prove that God is blessing you. But somehow to be poor, sincerely poor, thankfully poor, is helpful in beholding the emerging Kingdom. Somehow this emerging new Realm of God has the needs of the poor in mind.
Oh, we who are wealthy with money like to “spiritualize” this passage away. But I have come to believe that it is to be taken more literally than we tend to do. We who are wealthy are to identify and be concerned with the need of the poor. We who are wealthy can help the poorer members of our community and family. Our concerns are no longer about the wealthy but about the poor. And why? It was the Way of Christ and is to be the Way of the Christ within us and among us.
To be poor does not mean that we are impoverished but that we are prosperous in the compassion for those in need.
Always in His Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz