“Looking at his disciples, he said:
‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.’ ”
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
HIS IS AN HONEST AND KNOWING LOOK at the condition of the disciples who left their homes and work to join Christ. They lived on donations and had a box in which they collected gifts and by which they bought what they needed. However, the keeper of the box took for himself everything put into it. So it is clear Christ provided their needs by his own special means. Christ called the disciples ‘poor’ because they lived in need for the sake of God and his Word, so his expression ‘the poor’ became an indication of high status and his expression ‘the poor one’ an indication of excellence. In this way, the blessing of heaven came on everyone in need of food. It really was true when Christ said he is not of this world, because he lived poor, moving from house to house, and from one town to the next. By his own words, he had no place to rest his head, and the bitterest thing in the life of the poor is when sleep overcomes them and they have no place to lay their head. Even the foxes had holes, but Christ had nothing. He was the greatest model for the poor of the world who were born to hunger and with no one to have compassion on them. They were the disciples for whom he prepared thrones and crowns in heaven, and their names are on the foundations of the heavenly Jerusalem. In heaven, the thrones and crowns are not given haphazardly, for they are reserved for those who live at and below the poverty level. In the days of the disciples, the one found with a small cake was suspect and was asked ‘where did you get this?’ This is because the twelve either divided between them even a small cake or Judas secretly took it.
I am not exaggerating, because when Christ said to his disciples “you who are poor,” he really meant poor and needy. On the other hand, Christ prepared for them a city above with firm foundations. When Christ calls them “the poor” he is not diminishing their lot, just as he was not diminishing the lot of poor Lazarus. It is merely a title that carries the meaning of humility, lowliness, severe humiliation and miserable poverty. All of this is built on what was set aside for them and established in heaven.
For those poor disciples, he prepared thrones to sit on with Christ and, in their majesty, to judge Israel. It is written that their clothes are white with the appearance of light, they walk with Christ wherever he goes and receive greetings and glory.
Poverty, need and humiliation are the feature of those who preferred the shame of Christ to the wealth of this age, and they were content with bits of bread and the leftovers from people’s food. This was not by choice but out of need.
Know that Christ was not degrading his disciples when he described them as “the poor.” Rather, he was revealing to the sons of his heart the right and true level in his eyes of his beloved disciples. We cannot forget the tax collectors who appeared at Peter’s house to collect taxes from him, and the bitter truth is that Peter did not even have two drachmas, nor did Jesus, nor was there anything in the collection box. Christ did not give anything, rather, he said to Peter to go fishing, “Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”  So Christ also became a member of the band of the poor.
Brethren, this is a mystery called the mystery of rejection by the world, and Christ gave its name, title and destiny in heaven.
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