Wednesday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
The social beatitudes in Luke
And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. Lk 6,20-23
In his Gospel, Matthew tells us about the beatitudes solemnly, especially describing the inner attitude and the state of the heart without which no one can enter the kingdom of heaven: “Blessed are the poor in spirit… blessed are they who mourn… blessed are the meek… blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness… blessed are the merciful… blessed are the clean of heart… blessed are the peacemakers”(Mt 5, 3-12). The beatitudes Luke describes have a more social frame, instead; he rather refers to the actual situations of life. The difference is particularly evident in reference to beatitude of the hungry ones. Matthew writes: “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness”. Luke speaks instead of the real hunger: “Blessed are you who are now hungry”. Above all, Luke does not relate to the beatitudes and the blessed ones in general; he starts his sentences with “you” and thus completely overturns the system of values according to which we design our life, relationships, assessments and choices. Luke does not speak of poverty in spirit, but of real poor people, of those who struggle to make a living till the end of the month. In other words, he tells us that there is a blissful way to live the negative situations of life, when we can also meet joy: it consists in living them with the hope and awareness that justice will prevail in the end. The Beatitudes of Luke are meant for the poor, the unemployed, the exploited and immigrants: for those who expect concrete answers from their lives. And perhaps they also expect answers from us. Give us, Lord, the generosity to meet the needs of our neighbours.