On Sunday,19 November we shall be commemorating the first World Day of the Poor, announced by Pope Francis at the end of his 2015-16 Jubilee Year of Mercy in the document Misericordia et Misera (#MM 21). His purpose for creating this day, Pope Francis said in his message for the first World Day of the Poor, ‘Let us love, not with words but with deeds’ 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”.
Poverty knows many forms and the poor, says Pope Francis, are all around us “in faces marked by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, torture and imprisonment, war, deprivation of freedom and dignity, ignorance and illiteracy, medical emergencies and shortage of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, extreme poverty and forced migration. Poverty has the face of women, men and children exploited by base interests, crushed by the machinations of power and money”
Pope Francis calls on all Christians to serve the poor with concrete actions that address their daily needs. “This Day is meant, above all, to encourage believers to react against a culture of discard and waste, and to embrace the culture of encounter”.
Invitation to reflection:
- Who are the poor in my midst?
- How can I respond?