Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. (Matt 5:3; 6)

I’m sure he meant well. St. Matthew with his revisionism—a commentary on the more straightforward statements made by St. Luke.

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. (Luke 6:20-21a)

For one, in St. Matthew Jesus speaks in the third person about general groupings of people. For another, in St. Matthew, Jesus nicely spiritualizes those basic human needs.

Poor in spirit.
Hunger and thirst for righteousness.

As if it’s just a little bit embarrassing that Jesus would declare blessing on those who are poor or hungry just for being poor or hungry—they have to be poor and hungry and spiritual.

As if “care for the marginalized” is important, but we want to be very careful to not sacrifice the truth as we talk about grace.

As if we are to love all people, sure, but God has special relationship with those who recognize him. Or are aware of him. Or who care about him. In a way that he doesn’t with those who don’t.

But St. Luke gets it.

Unqualified grace.
Blessings with no strings attached.

The blessing of God is present where the blessing of the world is most clearly not.

And while St. Matthew tries to give it some dignity, some sacred reserve.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matt 5: 4)

St. Luke abandons dignity and reserve and embraces the wild, untamed, unconditional, without exception love of God.

Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. (Luke 6: 21b)

Amen.

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