Something to think about
The beatitudes, a set of blessings best known in Matthew’s somewhat spiritualised form, are a great source of encouragement for those seeking to live a Christian life. But less often quoted are the ‘woes’ which follow them here in Luke’s earthier version. For every promise for the poor, the hungry, and those who weep, there is a parallel warning for the rich, the full, and those who laugh.
With a bank account in the black, a hot dinner on the table, and the joy of good company to share my life with, I find these uncomfortable verses. We’re supposed to, I think. Our material circumstances may seem not to fit neatly into either category, but in these stark contrasts, Jesus asks us clearly with whom we will choose to align ourselves.
Content in our own fullness and satisfaction, the temptation is to surround ourselves with others who are comfortable, in order to block out the troubling stories of struggle and grief around us. But the alternative is to identify with those who struggle in our shared humanity. It leads us to give freely out of what we have, and makes us determined not to rest until everyone can share in the abundance of God.