"Blest are you poor; the reign of God is yours." —Luke 6:20
Luke presents the Beatitudes differently than does Matthew. In Luke, Jesus teaches the Beatitudes while "coming down the mountain" (Lk 6:17). In Matthew, Jesus teaches them "on the mountain" (Mt 5:1). Luke has four beatitudes and four woes, while Matthew has eight beatitudes.
Luke stresses physical poverty much more than does Matthew. Luke says: "Blest are you poor," and "blest are you who hunger" (Lk 6:20). Matthew, however, talks about being "poor in spirit," and hungering and thirsting for holiness (Mt 5:3, 6). Luke emphasizes physical poverty throughout his Gospel. He alone mentions Jesus' birth in a manger, the Good Samaritan, and the rich man and Lazarus. In his Beatitudes, Luke is repeating his theme that we should not only help the poor but be the poor.
We must "incarnate" our service to God's poor; it must become flesh. "The equal dignity of human persons requires the effort to reduce excessive social and economic inequalities. It gives urgency to the elimination of sinful inequalities. Solidarity...practices the sharing of spiritual goods even more than material ones" (Catechism, 1947-1948).
We must identify with the poor as does Jesus (see 2 Cor 8:9).
Prayer: Father, may I be like Jesus and thereby be poor.
Promise: "The world as we know it is passing away." —1 Cor 7:31
Praise: Brother John put all his belongings into a single backpack to do missionary work and be one of the poor in a third-world country.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our leaflet, The Beatitudes, or on audio AV 44-3 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 25, 2008
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