“Jesus states that we cannot serve two masters, God and wealth. … Jesus tells us what the ‘protocol’ is, on which we will be judged: I was hungry, I was thirsty, I was in prison, I was sick, I was naked and you helped me, clothed me, visited me, took care of me. (Matthew 25) Whenever we do this to one of our brothers, we do this to Jesus. Caring for our neighbour; for those who are poor, who suffer in body and in soul, for those who are in need. This is the touchstone. …Poverty takes us away from idolatry and from feeling self-sufficient. …the Gospel does not condemn the wealthy, but the idolatry of wealth, the idolatry that makes people indifferent to the call of the poor. …
‘The Church [is] everyone’s Church, and particularly the Church of the poor.’ (Pope John XXIII)
In the following years, this preferential treatment of the poor entered the official teachings. Some may think a novelty, whilst instead it is a concern that stems from the Gospel and is documented even from the first centuries of Christianity. If I repeated some passages from the homilies of the Church Fathers, in the second or third century, about how we must treat the poor, some would accuse me of giving a Marxist homily.
‘You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.’ (St. Ambrose) … ‘not sharing your goods with the poor means robbing them and taking away their life.’ (St. John Chrysostom)
…this concern for the poor is in the Gospel, it is within the tradition of the Church, it is not an invention of communism…. The Church, when it invites us to overcome what I have called ‘the globalisation of indifference’, is free from any political interest and any ideology. It is moved only by Jesus’ words, and wants to offer its contribution to build a world where we look after one another and care for each other.” Pope Francis
Moving From Head to Heart
- What feelings arise when you hear Pope Francis suggest building “a world where we look after one another?”
- Is your church “indifferent to the call of the poor?” Is it a “church of the poor?” Have you imagined being truly poor?
These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest! – Bill (Psalm 90:14)