Notable quotations from Pope Francis and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
"This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him" (Ps 34:6). The words of the Psalmist become our own whenever we are called to encounter the different conditions of suffering and marginalization experienced by so many of our brothers and sisters whom we are accustomed to label generically as "the poor".
Psalm 34 allows us today, surrounded as we are by many different forms of poverty, to know those who are truly poor. It enables us to open our eyes to them, to hear their cry and to recognize their needs.
On this World Day of the Poor we are called to make a serious examination of conscience to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor.
God's answer to the poor is always a saving act that heals wounds of body and soul, restores justice and helps to live life anew in dignity. God's answer is also a summons to those who believe in Him to do likewise, within the limits of what is humanly possible.
The World Day of the Poor wishes to be a small answer that the Church throughout the world gives to the poor ... lest they think that their cry has gone unheard. It may well be like a drop of water in the desert of poverty, yet it can serve as a sign of sharing with those in need, and enable them to sense the active presence of a brother or a sister. The poor do not need intermediaries, but the personal involvement of all those who hear their cry.
God's salvation is a hand held out to the poor, a hand that welcomes, protects and enables them to experience the friendship they need. From this concrete and tangible proximity, a genuine path of liberation emerges.
Far be it from Christ's disciples to nurture feelings of disdain or pity towards the poor. Instead we are called to honor the poor and give them precedence, out of the conviction that they are a true presence of Jesus in our midst.
The poor evangelize us and help us each day to discover the beauty of the Gospel. Let us not squander this grace-filled opportunity... May all of us feel that we are in debt to the poor, because, in hands outstretched to one another, a salvific encounter can take place to strengthen our faith, inspire our charity and enable our hope to advance securely on our path towards the Lord who is to come.
(Message for World Day of the Poor, 6/13/2018, memorial of St. Anthony of Padua)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com