In today's Gospel, we have Luke's version of the Beatitudes, where Jesus says, "Blessed are you who are destitute . . ." and later speaks various woes to those who are happy, well-fed, and wealthy. Certainly by any comparative measure to those in the rest of the world, we in America live in extravagant opulence. So these words to us are not easy ones to hear, but this is a teaching we must respond to. There are some concrete steps we can take to move away from the excessive and back toward the center and respond to both those who have less than we do . . . and to those blessed ones who have almost nothing.