Do You Hunger for Jesus?
In the gospel today we hear Luke’s version of the beatitudes. Luke’s version is called the sermon on the plain while Matthew’s version is part of the sermon on the mount (Matthew chapter 5). Matthew was showing Jesus to be the new Moses and the Messiah come to initiate a new covenant. As Moses received the commandments on Mount Sinai and gave them to the people, we receive the new covenant teachings from Jesus on a mount. The version we hear today is from the gospel of Luke. Luke is writing primarily to non-Jewish Christians and so does not depict Jesus as the new Moses. Instead, by having Jesus deliver these new teachings during a sermon on the plain, Luke puts Jesus on our level. Note that Matthew’s beatitudes are impersonal (“Blessed are those who…”) while Luke’s are personal (“Blessed are you who…”). These little differences expand our understanding of who Jesus is. While he is the new Moses and the one who gives us a new covenant, he does so not only from a place of authority but also from a place beside us. He became human and understands our human struggles and challenges. By placing these words in more personal form and situated on a plain, Jesus is addressing each of us personally and at our level.
The second beatitude says: “Blest are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied.” In these words Jesus is not simply speaking about physical hunger. More importantly, he is speaking about spiritual hunger. We need to have a spiritual hunger for Jesus and our faith as strong as our physical hunger for food. If we have this spiritual hunger and seek to fulfill it, Jesus says we will be satisfied. Please, be hungry for Jesus, for God’s word and for God’s Spirit. Peace.