WHY IS the message of a poor Galilean preacher “good news for the poor”? Does he show the poor a way of escape from their misery by providing a vision of spiritual wealth? Is the message he brings suited especially for those who live in poverty and for them alone?
We cannot stop proclaiming Jesus’ words today, just because for some people they sound like “pie in the sky.”
How blest are you who are in need, the kingdom of God is yours. How blest are you who now go hungry, your hunger shall be satisfied. How blest are you who weep now, you shall laugh (Luke 6:20-21).
Blacks, Chicanos, and Indians, the poor minorities of North America, need the fire of these words to warm their hearts. Prisoners of oppressive governments need these words. Harassed and helpless masses running desperate behind messiahs of the right and the left in the Third World need these words. Indigenous peoples of South America, chased by the oil companies and their native agents, need these words.
These words of Jesus for the poor point to the fact that there is a God who sees and judges, who is not indifferent to the human drama behind their poverty. The history of the world is not in the hands of the powerful and the rich.
Samuel Escobar was president of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship, Canada, and a contributing editor when this article first appeared in The Post-American, the forerunner to Sojourners.