Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Beatitudes are some of Jesus’ most inspiring words, and they are recorded for us in Matthew and Luke. What Luke records [or writes] as merely “the poor,” Matthew adds the qualifier “in spirit.”

Having encountered endemic poverty, I have come to see that it is as much a spiritual assault on its victims as it is a denial of basic resources. Poverty robs people of the unassailable dignity that belongs to each and every one of us. Poverty is imposed by those who hoard and fearfully guard the abundance of God’s resources for themselves without regard to their neighbours’ needs.

God’s promise of a land of milk and honey can be made manifest when a community both acknowledges that sustenance comes from God and strives to share it equitably. Jesus’ ministry of healing—and our own ministry of reconciliation—includes alleviating crushing poverty. Ending poverty is ultimately about restoring right relationship and nurturing spiritual health.

MOVING FORWARD: What are three concrete ways you participate in alleviating poverty in your community or spiritual poverty in your own heart?