THE SERVANT GENERAL
NO ONE IN NEED
GOD’S PREFERENCE FOR THE POOR
Today’s reading: 1 Samuel 2:1-8
Hannah knew God as someone who had a preferential
option for the poor. This was obvious from the way
“Hannah prayed” (v.1a). God loves the poor. God
desires to overturn the sorry lot of the poor. Those who unjustly
deprive the poor of what is rightfully theirs ought to watch
are three realities.
God loves the poor and will be there to help the poor. “He
raises the needy from the dust; from the ash heap lifts up
the poor” (v.8a).
not content with that, God intends to raise the poor to glory,
if not in this life then in the next. He intends “to
seat them with nobles and make a glorious throne their heritage.”
if the rich and powerful continue to unjustly deprive the
poor of what is theirs, God will overturn both their situations.
Mary in her Canticle said that God has “dispersed the
arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers
from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he
has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.”
(see Lk 1:51b-53). Hannah, centuries before, said, “The
bows of the mighty are broken, while the tottering gird on
strength. The well-fed hire themselves out for bread, while
the hungry no longer have to toil.” (v.4-5a).
Who is this God who loves the poor?
He is all-knowing, as He is the Almighty Creator. “For
an all-knowing God is the Lord” (v.3b). He knows the
circumstances of all the lives of all the people on the earth.
The rich should not be so arrogant as to think that God overlooks
their sins. The poor should not be so desperate as not to
know that God knows their situation and cares for them.
He has absolute power over everything. “The Lord puts
to death and gives life, casts down to Sheol and brings up
again.” (v.6). In the world it seems that worldly powers
are the ones in control. But they are not; God is. God just
allows them to function, according to His own purposes. Knowing
God has absolute control gives us hope and helps us keep faith.
He watches over us and will judge what we do and how we live.
He is “a God who weighs actions.” (v.3c). Our
actions will have consequences. Our good works will matter,
even though they seem unappreciated. The unjust will be punished,
even though they seem to flourish.
He decides what is best for us. “The Lord makes poor
and makes rich, humbles, and also exalts.” (v.7). The
way God thinks is very far from the way we think. We like
to be rich and to be exalted. But God often shows us the blessing
of poverty and being humbled. Unfortunately, we often cannot
see the value of what God wants for us, and so we reject it.
What then are we to do? How are we to respond to such a God?
we always look to God. “There is no Holy One like the
Lord; there is no Rock like our God.” (v.2). We do not
go on our own strength. In the call to holiness, we look to
God. In having a solid foundation for our life and mission,
we look to God. We always look to being used by God as His
instruments. It is not what we want in life, what our priorities
are, but what God wants, what His priorities are.
since we are nothing apart from God, we must not fall into
pride because of our human accomplishments and resources.
“Speak boastfully no longer, do not let arrogance issue
from your mouths.” (v.3a). We only trust in God and
never on ourselves. We only look to God’s grace and
strength and wisdom and never to our human resources. And
when God uses us powerfully, we must never become proud or
boastful or even arrogant.
in our work of evangelization and service to the poor, we
look to God’s grace and strength to provide us the victory.
“I have swallowed up my enemies; I rejoice in your victory.”
(v.1c). It was Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection
that gave us the victory in overcoming the works of the enemy.
We stand on that victory! Work with the poor is very hard,
very demanding, entailing lots of sacrifice, often pain, even
rejection and lack of appreciation. Wait! That is what Jesus
underwent in going to the cross! That is indeed the path to
We are empowered to witness. To witness to
the poor. To witness to the world about justice. What a privilege!
“My heart exults in the Lord, my horn is exalted by
my God.” (v.1b). The horn is a symbol of power. We exult
in the Lord, giving Him worship and obedience, and in turn
our God gives us power and strength.