Then he looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. ‘Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. ‘Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
‘Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice on that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. ‘But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. ‘Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. ‘Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
‘Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.
Today is Wednesday the 11 September, in the 23rd week of Ordinary Time.
Nóirín Ní Riain, with the monks of Glenstal Abbey, sings the Beatitudes.
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.
The beatitudes of Luke cannot be over-spiritualised, and we have to confront the revolutionary message in them. In Jesus’ day, the rich were usually the beneficiaries of an economic system that exploited the poor: taxed them, put them into debt, stole their land, broke up families, left them destitute. Many religious authorities especially around the Temple, were the winners in this system. God’s intention was that everyone would have their needs met. Jesus is passionate about God’s kingdom where everyone has enough and no one is excluded.
If we think of Jesus as meek and mild, do we need to think again?
As you listen once more to this passage, how do you imagine this Jesus speaking to our world with its divisions between rich and poor?
Is there an invitation to you here? What part do you want to play in the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth?