Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the First World Day of the Poor 19 November 2017

 Let us love, not with words but with deeds 

  1. “Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but indeed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18).  Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor. 

  2. Such love cannot go unanswered. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6).  The Church has always understood the importance of this cry: the service of the poor.

  3. We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or of impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience, they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life. 

  4. If we truly wish to encounter Christ, we have to touch his body in the suffering bodies of the poor, as a response to the sacramental communion bestowed in the Eucharist.  The Body of Christ, broken in the sacred liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters. 

  5. We are called, then, to draw near to the poor, to encounter them, to meet their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the warmth of love that breaks through their solitude.  Their outstretched hand is also an invitation to step out of our certainties and comforts, and to acknowledge the value of poverty in itself.  Poverty is above all a call to follow Jesus in his own poverty.  It means walking behind him and beside him, a journey that leads to the beatitude of the Kingdom of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3; Lk 6:20). 

  6. Poverty means having a humble heart and thus enables us to overcome the temptation to feel omnipotent and immortal.  Poverty is an interior attitude that avoids looking upon money, career and luxury as our goal in life and the condition for our happiness. 

  7. We know how hard it is to see poverty clearly for what it is.  Poverty challenges us daily, in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration.  Poverty has the face of women, men and children, crushed by power and money. 

  8. Faced with this scenario, we cannot remain passive, much less resigned.  All the poor belong to the Church by “evangelical right” and require of us a fundamental option on their behalf.  Blessed, therefore, are the open hands that embrace the poor and help them: they are hands that bring hope.

  9. At the conclusion of the Jubilee of Mercy, I wanted to offer the Church a World Day of the Poor.  I invite the whole Church, and men and women of good will everywhere, to turn their gaze on this day to all those who stretch out their hands and plead for our help and solidarity.

  10.   God created the heavens and the earth for all; yet sadly some have erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the original gift meant for all humanity, with none excluded.  It is my wish that, in the week preceding the World Day of the Poor, Christian communities will make every effort to create moments of encounter and friendship.  The kingship of Christ is most evident on Golgotha, when the Innocent One, nailed to the cross, poor, naked and stripped of everything, incarnates and reveals the fullness of God’s love.  This Sunday, if there are poor people where we live who seek protection and assistance, let us draw close to them: it will be a favourable moment to encounter the God we seek. 

  11. Let us not forget that the “Our Father” is the prayer of the poor.  When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, he answered in the words with which the poor speak to our one Father.  The Our Father is a prayer said in the plural: the bread for which we ask is “ours”, and that entails sharing, participation and joint responsibility.  In this prayer, all of us recognize our need to overcome every form of selfishness, in order to enter into the joy of mutual acceptance. The poor are not a problem: they are a resource from which to draw as we strive to accept and practice in our lives the essence of the Gospel.

From the Vatican, 13 June 2017

Church of the Nativity of Our Lady
Ardee Catholic Church
John Street
Ardee
Co. Louth
Email      : ardee.collon@gmail.com
Landline : 0416850920

Copryright@2017ardeecollonparish

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