The first beatitude, “blessed are the poor” in Luke’s gospel, reads “blessed are the poor in spirit” in Matthew’s gospel. Jesus is not telling people to be poor, or poor in spirit so they can gain the kingdom of heaven. He’s making an announcement — God is for the poor. The question for the church is — who are we for?
For all the questions we may fairly ask about the story of Cain and Abel, there are a few critical issues that must not get lost in our questions about the text. What does it really mean to “be my brother (and sister)’s keeper? In the words of Elie Wiesel,”do your best.” Here’s a little bit more about how that might look in today’s world.
Looking for someone to blame is only one of the ways that we can miss the main point. In times of stress it is easy to get off-track and lose focus. We are only human, after all, and we do not know how to do everything perfectly. But we are not alone. We live in God’s love, and we are in that love together.
My mother had 5 sisters, and they had names that are not often heard anymore, except for one. Agnes, Gertrude, Myrtis, Gladys, and Beth. When these aunts of mine would come for Thanksgiving our house came alive with laughter, almost screeching, as these sisters really enjoyed each other.