Sr. Jecinter Antoinette Okoth, FSSA
Pope Francis on Sunday, November 15 during the commemoration of the fourth World Day of the Poor, reminded Christians to be concerned with the needy and use the gifts they have received from God for the good of others.”
In his homily while addressing Christians from St. Peter’s Square the Pope said, “Extend a hand to the poor. Reach out to the poor. You are not alone in life: there are people who need you. Do not be selfish.”
“Use what God has given you and look at the poor. There are so many of them even in our cities. Do good,” Pope Francis urged the Christians, referencing the gifts we have received as Christs’ disciples which we need “to use in doing good in this life, in service to God and to our brothers and sisters.”
World Day of the Poor which is celebrated annually on the 33rd Sunday of the Church’s Ordinary Time, was established by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter, Misericordia et Misera, issued on 20 November 2016 to mark the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.
Reminding the Christians that being Christ’s followers does not just mean not doing harm, the Pope said, “At times, we think to be Christian means not to do harm. Not doing harm is good; but not doing good is not good.”
He continued, “There is so much hunger, even in the heart of our cities; and many times we enter into that logic of indifference: the poor person is there, and we look the other way. Reach out your hand to the poor person: it is Christ.”
On the theme “Stretch forth your hand to the poor” the Pontiff urged Christians that it is through serving the poor that the Gospel can be well understood.
“Do not forget: the poor are at the heart of the Gospel; we cannot understand the Gospel without the poor. The poor are like Jesus himself, who, though rich, emptied himself, made himself poor, even taking sin upon himself: the worst kind of poverty,” he said and continued, “The poor guarantee us an internal income. Even now they help us become rich in love. For the worst kind of poverty needing to be combatted is our poverty of love.
Earlier, in his message for the fourth World Day of the Poor released June 2020, the Pope noted that “Poverty always appears in a variety of guises, and calls for attention to each particular situation (and) in all of these, we have an opportunity to encounter the Lord Jesus, who has revealed himself as present in the least of his brothers and sisters.”
The Pope concluded his Sunday homily by saying, “Look, brother and sister, the poor are at the centre of the Gospel. It is Jesus who taught us to speak to the poor; it is Jesus who came for the poor. Reach out your hand to the poor,’ and posed a concern, “You have received many things, and you let your brother, your sister, die of hunger?