Where Matthew’s beatitudes address spiritual hunger and thirst, Luke’s get down to the nitty-gritty realities of life. They reveal that Jesus cares about those who do not have access to adequate food and basic necessities. They tell us that Jesus sees our tears and knows the pain of being hated or excluded or the subject of gossip. He promises that these struggles will not last forever. There will be joy – even if it comes after our death.
While he pronounces blessing on those who struggle, he pronounces woe on those who do not. Holding these four blessings and four woes against each other might have been Jesus’ way of inviting the rich and full into participating in the fulfilment of Jesus’ promise. In hoarding what they have, they would not know the blessing of being a blessing. Maybe that’s where the ‘woe’ comes in. If instead, they choose to share what they have, to tend to those who lack what they need, they would be establishing themselves within the family of God and responding in love to their siblings in Christ. In this way, there is potential for all to experience blessing.
Today, offer a prayer for those who are facing hunger or being treated unfairly. Consider how you might be a blessing to someone today.