In the Beatitudes, Jesus gives us his roadmap to happiness—and to our ultimate destination: Heaven. The evangelist Luke has a bias for the poor. When Jesus teaches the Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel, he says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Luke takes out the phrase in spirit. Throughout his Gospel, Luke calls attention to the real poor—the ones without enough food, clothes, or shelter.
Luke makes it clear that those of us who have plenty or even just enough now will experience woe and God’s displeasure if we are blinded by the riches of this world and fail to recognize and seek the treasures of God’s kingdom. Seeking the treasures of God’s kingdom will open our eyes and hearts to the needs of the real poor that Luke calls blessed in his Beatitudes.
The Thanksgiving and Christmas collections for the poor are past, but the needs of agencies that serve the poor continue throughout the year. As the beginning of Lent (3/6) approaches, you might consider planning a collection for the “real poor.” Homeless shelters often need socks and personal care products. Food banks need nonperishable food items. Pregnancy help centers may need maternity clothes and baby items. As we work to help meet the physical needs of these agencies’ clients, we can also add our commitment to pray for them. Their spiritual needs are just as important as their physical needs.
LET US PRAY: Loving God, thank you for the many blessings we enjoy every day. Help us to not take them for granted. Help us to see those who are poor with God’s eyes and share our blessings with them. Give us the wisdom to seek and value the treasures of your Kingdom over the treasures of this world. Soften our hearts and break down our prejudices toward those who have less. Help us to depend on you and trust in your care. Amen.
Image credit: iStock.com/Steve Debenport