This year’s World Poor People’s Day will be held on November 14. The Pope strongly urged Christians and governments to take urgent and innovative measures in a message entitled “You always have the poor with you”. The poor “increased drastically.”
(Vatican News NetworkThe Press Room of the Holy See announced on June 14 Pope Francis’s proclamation for the 5th World Poor’s Day this year, with the theme “You will always have the poor with you” (Gu 14:7). The Pope explained the meaning of this theme, stating that “if Christians want to see Jesus, touch him with their hands, know where to turn: the poor are the concrete signs of Christ, they represent Christ, and let people see his face”.
The Pope mentioned that Judas criticized the woman for pouring a very precious bottle of perfume on Jesus’ head, saying that the perfume was worth more than 300 silver and could have been given to the poor. Saint Joseph commented, “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, in charge of the purse, and often stealing what was stored in it” (cf. John 12 1-6). The Pope emphasized that “those who did not recognize the poor have betrayed the teachings of Jesus and cannot be His disciples”. The poor are “the center of the church journey.”
The Pope pointed out that today’s pandemic disaster has further increased the number of poor people, and it is necessary to find “the most suitable solution to fight the worldwide virus, not just the interests of some people. In particular, a concrete response is urgently needed” to promote humanitarianism. The plan helps “those who are unemployed, fathers, women and young people in many families have been hit hard.”
The Pope warned that, unfortunately, “the individualistic lifestyle has become an accomplice in creating poverty, and often put all the responsibility for poverty on the poor. But poverty is not the result of fate, but the result of selfishness.” “If the poor are marginalized, it seems that they have caused it themselves, then the concept of democracy itself will be in crisis, and various social policies will fail.”
The Pope went on to say that we should humbly admit that in front of the poor, “we are often powerless. We talk about them abstractly, staying on statistics, thinking that making some documentaries can move people’s hearts. On the contrary, poverty should inspire a creative plan of”.
The Pope stated that Jesus said that “you will always have the poor with you”, and this is inviting people to “never miss the opportunity to do good”. This is not “to relieve the responsibility of our conscience through some charity, but to confront the culture of indifference and injustice that treats the poor.” Charity is accidental, and sharing is a lasting act. The former will make the giver complacent and humiliate the recipient; the latter will strengthen solidarity and mutual assistance and create the necessary conditions for justice.
Many saints and saints shared “their life plan” with the poor. The pope mentioned that the leper’s apostle, Father Damian, “replied very generously to the call to Molo, where only lepers can enter.” Kay Island, live and die with them”. During the epidemic, this testimony was “very timely”, and God’s grace “operated in the hearts of many unknown people, who devoted themselves to the poorest with practical sharing”.
The Pope mentioned the thoughts of the “Gospel Joy” exhortation, and pointed out that for an economic system that puts the interests of privileged areas at the center, the poor actually “become an intolerable burden.” This “market that ignores or screens ethical principles creates inhumane conditions and hits people who are already in an unstable situation.” “Unscrupulous economic and financial participants will always create new traps of poverty and exclusion, lacking humanitarian awareness and social responsibility.”
For Christians, there is an “inseparable connection” between “Jesus, the poor, and the preaching of the gospel.” In fact, “God reveals the face of the father of the poor and close to the poor. All of Jesus’ deeds show that poverty is not the result of bad luck, but a concrete sign of His presence among us.” Looking for Christ is not “when and where we are willing to look for Him, but to recognize Him in the lives of poor people, who suffer and are poor and sometimes forced to be in an inhumane environment.”
Finally, the Pope quoted a passage published by Father Primo Mazzolari in the journal “Now” in 1949 to end this World Poor People’s Day proclamation. The priest wrote: “I would like to ask you not to ask me whether there are poor people, who are poor and how many people there are, because I am worried that such questions will be distracting or become an excuse for avoiding conscience and expressing my heart. I am. Never count how many poor people there are, because it is impossible to count: the poor need hugs instead of counting numbers.”
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