“Blessed Are You…!”(Lk.6:20-26).
The gospel of Luke is the gospel of the poor. It is a gospel of the nobodies. The poor is a representation of individuals who are caught up in social power structures which infringes on one’s mobility and intrinsic value that one has in the community. The poor are people without economic means. Poverty is not just lack of money; to be poor is to be powerless.
In Luke, Jesus says, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh…”
The very first time Jesus publicly read the Scriptures he arrogated to himself the words of Isaiah, “The Spirit of the LORD is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor…to proclaim freedom for the prisoners…to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favour”(Lk.18-19).
Why would this freedom fighter and liberationist in one breath comfort the poor and oppressed with words that can make them feel satisfied with the statusquo? Is poverty a guarantee for salvation?
Being contented with the statusquo is to align with the “domination system” which ipso facto contradicts Jesus’ mission as liberator.
The unintended consequences of the text is its abuse by the rich and powerful who use it to their advantage against the poor and disenfranchised majority.
This kind of disequilibrium which the few use against the majority is what prompted Karl Marx to famously call religion “the opium of the masses.” By this Marx was saying that those in power use religion to oppress the workers, making the oppressed to feel better about being oppressed.
Those who use the blessedness and kingdom of God to aggravate the condition of the poor miss the point because that is propagating a half gospel.
The full gospel includes the woes directed against the exploiters: “But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep…”
The Lord is not in favour of one class over the other. Salvation is for those who believe in Christ and obey his commands.
That is why liberation is never about liberating one class from the other. Liberation is for both classes. To liberate the poor from poverty is not only by empowering them, but by liberating the rich from the overdose of plenty. Liberating the oppressed is also by liberating the oppressor from the sin of ignorance.
We can all have enough if we overcome our greeds and covetousness!
*”Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness…” But where is that kingdom, and where is his righteousness to be found? My friend, it is by being one another’s keeper. It is by seeing Christ in the Other.
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ thank you for your blessings. Amen!
Have a blessed day! Peace be with you!
Rev Babila Fochang.