The Gospel lesson Father Wells will read Sunday is Luke’s version of the beatitudes. Beware the tendency we all have to let the words roll over us. We know this stuff, right? Because we’ve all heard Matthew’s version of the Beatitudes, and we miss how Luke’s version is different. We may not catch, for example, that Jesus doesn’t talk in Luke about the “poor in spirit.” He simply talks about the poor.
The Greek word for the poor is “ptōchos,” with a hard “ch” like in “Bach.” But listen to what your mouth is doing with the “pt” sound in the first syllable. Does it sound like you’re spitting? Makes you think of the Paul Simon song “Blessed:” “Blessed are the sat upon, spat upon, ratted on.”
So what can we say about the poor, the hungry, and people who cry all the time? Well, they’re sort of losers. No, no “sort of” to it. They’re losers. But here’s Jesus saying it’s good to be a loser. He calls them BLESSED.
And then he levels his attention on you and me, at those who have enough to eat, those who have a warm dry place to sleep and clean clothes to put on Sunday morning after our hot shower. “Woe to you,” he says. Woe to you who are full now, who are laughing now. So what’s our lesson from this? Can we somehow identify as losers? Can we see Christ in the losers we meet? Can we BECOME losers for Jesus?