Blessed are the Poor

(February 1 2023)

Blessed are the Poor

The church hymn “Be not afraid” was written by Bob Dufford a Jesuit priest, in 1976. It has become one of our favourite hymns.

It is based on the scripture passage of what we know as “the sermon on the mount”.
In Christ’s time, many believed that hardship, whether poverty or illness was caused by the sin of the person or his or her parents. Jesus corrected this when he said. “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God”. Jesus also said that Lazarus the poor beggar made it into heaven, into the “bosom of Abraham.” If his poverty was caused by sin, how could he be in the presence of God?

Our culture today does not blame poverty on sin, but it implies a kind of moral failing. It sees one who is blessed as one who has success in a career, wealth, property, and the lifestyle that goes along with it. These are to be attained through hard work which is seen as a virtue. These are attained using our gifts and talents. Jesus even encourages us to use our talents wisely.

The temptation in this is to value what we accomplish, not who we are as persons. Many still look down on the poor or the drug addicted and we blame their poverty and their problems on some personal flaw or moral deficiency. In fact, many prefer not to even think about the poor.

But Scripture tells us that God loves the poor. He is on their side simply because they are still persons worthy of respect. And in their helplessness, they put their trust in God. God puts his trust in us to help them.

Jesus tells us that when we clothe, feed, and house the poor, rescue those taken captive by drugs or human traffickers, or console the afflicted we do it all to Him – to His person. We see Jesus in them.

The poor teach us a very important lesson. What really counts is reaching out to Him for our inmost needs like the helpless poor. We are to help God meet the needs of the poor by helping the poor to change their lives. We are to educate others that the poor are still to be respected and treated with dignity as a child of God.

Deacon John Girolami

Spirituality Corner

Monthly Reflections
by Deacon John Girolami,
Spiritual Advisor, ONRC