Blessed are the poor

Blessed are the poor March 3, 2017

In spirit.  During the era of Pope Francis, the focus has fallen on economic and material hardship and those causes for our suffering.  That can be expected.  If Pope Francis isn’t a liberation theologian, he’s clearly influenced by that particular school of thought.

Not that he fails to point out the spiritual, but if we’re not careful, we can begin to think that being poor is ever and always a bad thing.  It’s not, especially poor in spirit.  Of course the quandary has always been that we’re called to take care of the poor while being told the poor are blessed.  That’s poor, the physically poor, as in the Gospel of Luke.

At no time, however, are we told in the Gospels to eliminate poverty or keep people from being poor.  That’s noteworthy.  We’re merely called to take care of them.  Because the Gospel is, and always has been, the ultimate counter-cultural message.  While the world indulges in gimme, gimme, gimme; get, get, get, we’re called to a different framework for seeing life.

Doing without can be OK.  It helps us get toward that other blessed poorness, and that’s the poor in spirit.  The Gospel of Matthew takes that approach.  Not that you can’t have a crap ton of money and power and be poor in spirit.  It’s just more difficult. After all, Jesus didn’t say it was impossible to get into heaven with wealth.  He said it was as easy a pulling a camel through the eye of a needle.

I was thinking on that as I read these two reflections, here and here, on just what it is to be poor in spirit.  Well worth the read on this first Lenten Friday.

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