Soeurs de Saint-Joseph de Cluny
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      World Day of the Poor, November 17

World Day of the Poor, November 17

The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever

Today too, we must acknowledge many new forms of bondage that enslave millions of men, women, young people and children. ... In a word, we see before us a multitude of poor people often maligned and barely tolerated. They become for all effects invisible and their voice is no longer heard or heeded in society. Men and women who are increasingly strangers amid our houses and outcasts in our neighborhoods. (Pope Francis)


From the "Message of His Holiness Pope Francis

for the Third World Day of the Poor

Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary, Time 17 November 2019"

... Daily we encounter families forced to leave their homeland to seek a living elsewhere; orphans who have lost their parents or were violently torn from them by brutal means of exploitation; young people seeking professional fulfilment but prevented from employment by shortsighted economic policies; victims of different kinds of violence, ranging from prostitution to the narcotics trade, and profoundly demeaned. How can we overlook, too, the millions of immigrants who fall victim to any number of concealed interests, often exploited for political advantage, and are refused solidarity and equality? And all the homeless and ostracized persons who roam the streets of our cities? ...

... Scripture constantly speaks of God acting on behalf of the poor. He is the one who “hears” their cry” and “comes to their aid”; he “protects” and “defends” them; he “rescues” and “saves” them… Indeed, the poor will never find God indifferent or silent in the face of their plea. God is the one who renders justice and does not forget (cf. Ps 40:18; 70:6); he is their refuge and he never fails to come to their assistance (cf. Ps 10:14). ...

... We can never elude the urgent appeal that Scripture makes on behalf of the poor. Wherever we look, the word of God points to the poor, those who lack the necessities of life because they depend on others. They are the oppressed, the lowly and the downcast. Yet, faced with countless throngs of the poor, Jesus was not afraid to identify with each of them: “Whatever you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did to me” (Mt 25:40). If we refuse to make this identification, we falsify the Gospel and water down God’s revelation. The God that Jesus came to reveal is a Father who is generous, merciful, unfailing in his goodness and grace. He gives hope especially to those who are disillusioned and lacking in hope for the future. ...

... Hope is also communicated by the sense of fulfilment born of accompanying the poor not for a brief moment of enthusiasm, but through a constant commitment over time. The poor acquire genuine hope, not from seeing us gratified by giving them a few moments of our time, but from recognizing in our sacrifice an act of gratuitous love that seeks no reward. ...

... Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to seek, in every poor person whom you encounter, his or her true needs, not to stop at their most obvious material needs, but to discover their inner goodness, paying heed to their background and their way of expressing themselves, and in this way to initiate a true fraternal dialogue. ...

... Before all else, the poor need God and his love, made visible by “the saints next door”, people who by the simplicity of their lives express clearly the power of Christian love. God uses any number of ways and countless means to reach people’s hearts. Certainly, the poor come to us also because we give them food, but what they really need is more than our offer of a warm meal or a sandwich. The poor need our hands, to be lifted up; our hearts, to feel anew the warmth of affection; our presence, to overcome loneliness. In a word, they need love. ...

... If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelizers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope. I ask all Christian communities, and all those who feel impelled to offer hope and consolation to the poor, to help ensure that this World Day of the Poor will encourage more and more people to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness and solidarity. ...

Full text:
MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS, THIRD WORLD DAY OF THE POOR, 33th Sunday in Ordinary Time, 17 November 2019
Before all else, the poor need God and his love, made visible by “the saints next door”, people who by the simplicity of their lives express clearly the power of Christian love. ... The poor need our hands, to be lifted up; our hearts, to feel anew the warmth of affection; our presence, to overcome loneliness. In a word, they need love. ...

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