Luke’s Gospel places emphasis both on the non-negotiable essential discipline for a disciple of practising simplicity and humility, and also on the special place the poor and lowly and outcast have in the heart of God.
At the time and place of Christ’s birth, shepherds were looked down upon – they were on the very bottom rung of the social ladder – yet it was to them the angel came.
The Song of Mary, which Luke sets out for us, rejoices in God’s option for the poor, remembering and lifting up the lowly. Luke shows Jesus born in a stable because there was no room at the inn, the child of a couple who could afford only the poor man’s sacrifice (Luke 2:24).
Teaching about money is prominent in Luke’s Gospel, for example the parables of the Rich Fool (12:13–21) and Dives and Lazarus (16:19–26) – and Jesus warns that no one can serve God and money (16:10–13).
Luke tells us that Jesus said “… those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples”. What do you suppose he meant by that?
Mary in her song rejoiced that God had “filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty”. What do you think about this? In what way has God “sent the rich away empty”? And how has he “filled the hungry with good things”?
Jesus says, “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will never fail… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What are the purses he means? What is that “treasure in heaven”? Do you think you have it? How do we find it?
O God of love, your heart burns with compassion for the poorest, the loneliest, and the lost. Your eye sees even the sparrow that falls. You feel the sorrow and despair of the poor, and your choice on earth was to share that with them. Help us, we pray. Forgive us where we are complacent, indifferent, and selfish. Find us where we ourselves are poor or lonely and forgotten. Strengthen us to serve, to share, and to love, and so bring us to the place where heaven’s treasure is to be found in our midst here on earth. For we ask it in Jesus’ holy name; Amen.