the anawim

The sermon at the Catholic church this week focused on the anawim. It's a Hebrew word meaning the poor, afflicted, lowly, humble, meek. It was sometimes used by the prophets to refer to God's faithful remnant, those oppressed ones who longed for God's deliverance.

What interested me was that the priest didn't just say we should respect or help the poor and oppressed, but pointed out that Jesus was one of the anawim himself. In his poverty, his meekness (powerlessness), and the oppression he endured. This is something I've noticed myself and I think we ought to follow his example in this (and I've been trying for years). But Jesus also saw his ministry directed towards the anawim:

Jesus went to the synagogue, as his custom was, on the sabbath day. And he stood up to read; and there was given to him the book of the prophet Isaiah.

He opened the book and found the place where it was written, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor (anawim, in Is 61.1). He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."

And he closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Lk 4.16-21)
Jesus quotes the beginning of Isaiah 61, recalling the prophet's promises to the anawim. This makes me want to become the anawim myself, to receive these promises and to follow Jesus' example, and I also want to direct my attention to them as Jesus did.

Often we do that in our charities. But we don't do it as Jesus did. We offer our help by bringing money and the power of our organizations, while Jesus came as the poor among the poor. But how do we help if we're the anawim ourselves?