Sunday,18 November marks the second World Day of the Poor, instituted by Pope Francis during the Year of Mercy (2016).
His purpose for creating this day, Pope Francis said in his message for the first World Day of the Poor is to give witness: “so that throughout the world Christian communities can become an ever greater sign of Christ’s charity for the least and those most in need”.
In this year’s World Day of the Poor message, Pope Francis reflects on Psalm 34:7, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.”
Who are the poor? What cries must be heard? There are many different forms of poverty. This year the Pope highlights “those whose hearts are broken by sadness, loneliness and exclusion…those trampled in their dignity…those persecuted in the name of a false justice, oppressed by policies unworthy of the name, and terrified by violence…those poor, rejected and marginalized’.
We are challenged in his message “to make a serious examination of our conscience, to see if we are truly capable of hearing the cry of the poor”
Using the example of the poor man in Psalm 34 as his illustration the pope describes how we can only recognise the voice of the poor in silence and then, having listened, we must answer. Our response, he says, calls for a ‘loving attentiveness which honours the person … and seeks out his/her best interests’.”
For reflection as you listen to the hymn
- Who is the “poor man” in my community, ministry or neighbourhood?
- What cry should I be hearing?
- How could I respond?