Pope Francis exhorts Christians to have compassion for the poor

Pope Francis exhorts Christians to have compassion for the poor

His Holiness Pope Francis has urged all Christians to live lives of poverty and concretize their compassion for the poor by helping those that are in need.

The Holy Father has made the call in his message as the Church prepares to celebrate the 7th World Day for the Poor.

Through the messages catchy statement “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor” (Tob 4:7), the Holy Father calls on all Christians to reflect on the real meaning and essence of Christian witness in the world. All believers are reminded that the world that they live in is made of cities with rivers of poverty traversing in them, swelling as they flow to the point of overflowing. This is the poverty of brothers and sisters who need help from others.

The scriptural reference is the story of Tobit, an old man who was deported and blind, and had to suffer the loss of his son who was going to a distant country. As they parted, Tobit not only provided for the material needs of his son but also showed him the path of true witness in life.

“We see immediately that what the elderly Tobit asks of his son is not simply to think of God and to call upon him in prayer. He speaks of making concrete gestures, carrying out good works and practicing justice. He goes on to state this even more clearly: “To all those who practice righteousness give alms from your possessions, and do not let your eye begrudge the gift when you make it” (4:7). Reads part of the message.

Thus in the message, the pope recalls the reality of the present day world which He described as not being sensitive to the needs of the poor. Examples of people trying their best to live affluent lives while ignoring the poor are clear for everyone to see.

All these examples made manifest in the real life and so are an invitation to all of us to consider the plight of the poor.

This celebration that falls on the sixtieth anniversary of the encyclical Pacem in Terris, the Pope calls upon all to take to heart the following words of Pope Saint John XXIII: “Every human being enjoys the right to life, to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, including food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, every individual has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from work; widowhood and forced unemployment; as well as in other cases when, through no fault of his own, he or she is deprived of the means of livelihood”.

This year’s World Day for the Poor will be celebrated on 19th November 2023, the Thirty third Sunday of Ordinary time.