For the season of Lent, we will focus on the Beatitudes as told by Luke (Lk. 6:20-26).
Luke’s reporting of the beatitudes is uniquely his own. Unlike Matthew, who fleshes out each blessing, making them a set of spiritual exercises that deepens one’s practice of discipleship, Luke is direct and blunt. He flatly states each attribute: poverty, hunger, sorrow, and persecution.
That can be off-putting. Luke clearly believes God to be nearest to the Least of These. But what if we are not in that state? But look invites us to look more deeply. How many forms of poverty are there? Especially if we define poverty as lacking some key element that makes life live-able? What of hunger? Sorrow? What does it feel like to be persecuted? What forms might it take, beyond the base definition of being ridiculed or threatened because of faith? Luke wants us to see that in the presence of God, we all experience the scarcity of being, facing the lack of the resources so necessary to live as God intends for us to live.
Hence, he adds a matching set of woes that perfectly mirror the blessings. Even if you have it all, in the presence of God, what does any of it mean?
Luke longs for us to see that living by God’s grace, mercy, and compassion opens us to a true realization of being made in the image of God.
And that fully prepares us for Easter.