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poorChapter 6 of Luke’s gospel is the alternative reading of the famous Beatitudes in Matthew 5: the “Sermon on the Plain” rather than “the Sermon on the Mount” which is perhaps an indicator of the content as well as a location since Luke speaks in a more “down to earth” way – about the “poor” rather than the “poor in spirit” and the “hungry” rather than those who “hunger and thirst for justice.” Luke’s gospel was written for the Gentiles, not those for whom Matthew wrote. Matthew’s audience was the “chosen people, a royal priesthood…” those waiting for the Messiah who would restore “the throne of David.” Luke was concerned about everybody else.

As I think of our world today I’m unable to separate the poor in Africa from those in the United States – or people in war-torn countries from myself. Because we have the benefit of knowing about anything we can Google, it’s difficult to exclude anyone from our circle of concern. It would be easier to be ignorant (which doesn’t really mean “stupid” but simply “unknowing”). There would be less to worry about, fewer issues to be considered.

The reason my thoughts went this way this morning, I’m sure, is the last line from Paul’s message to the Corinthians (1Cor 7:31) where he predicts that “the world in its present form is passing away.” There are many implications – hopeful as well as dire – in that one line that cause me to reflect on my place and responsibility as a world citizen. It sounds like a “wake up call” to me. Prayer, concern, education and action are all words that come to mind. I’d better get busy…