When talking about being blessed, what comes to mind? Don’t we usually default to what is normally defined by blessing in the world? Normally, blessing involves having big numbers in the checking account at the bank. Blessing is being free from much of life’s trials and struggles – life goes easy. Blessings are what we call all of our friends and family. This is what we consider being blessed.
So we come to the words of Jesus and we are confused because he says just the opposite. He is teaching that blessed are the poor, those who mourn and weep as well as those persecuted because of him. Furthermore, Jesus announces ‘woes’ to those who are rich, happy and regarded with a good reputation by lots of people. Jesus is obviously out of sync with what the world values and we so often define as being the blessed by God.
This reading is Luke’s version of the Beatitudes. What makes Luke’s version different is that Jesus comes down to the level plane. He isn’t sitting like a teacher on a hill as a teacher did instructing the students. He came down to the level plane to share with us in the flesh. He came down to stare directly face to face with our humanity and our reality. The good news of the incarnation is that God has not abandoned us in our sin and death but has come to us in Christ Jesus to bring us salvation and the resurrection.
What is important to notice is that Jesus didn’t speak these Beatitudes to the crowds amazed by the healing and casting out of their demons. Jesus was looking at the disciples. He was directing these words to the church. The people of the kingdom. Those who take to heart his ministry which he announced as good news to the poor and release to the captives and of the year of the Lord’s favor which emphasized forgiveness of debts and a rebooting of economic structures. Blessed are those concerned with the kingdom’s presence.
Blessed are the poor for they will know the fullness of the kingdom.
Blessed are those who mourn and weep over the lies and killing and race baiting and hate etc. because they long for the kingdom to be realized by all.
Blessed are those who speak like the prophet of old to the kings of old of the injustice and the trampling of the poor that defined their rule.
Blessed are those devoted to the kingdom. Blessed are those longing for the salvation that only Christ brings. Blessed are those seeking the new life of Christ’s resurrection to be known by all of creation.
Have a blessed day.