Pope's message for World Day of Poor: Prayer inseparable from solidarity with poor
Pope calls on people to keep their gaze fixed on the poor, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, and warns against succumbing to a “whirlwind of indifference”.
Pope Francis has released his message for the Fourth World Day of the Poor, observed on 15 November. The theme for the 4th World Day of the Poor is “Stretch forth your hand to the poor”, taken from the book of Sirach. Pope Francis observes that “its author presents his advice concerning many concrete situations in life, one of which is poverty. He insists that even amid hardship we must continue to trust in God.” The Pope points out that “prayer to God and solidarity with the poor and suffering are inseparable.”
“The present experience,” says Pope Francis, “has challenged many of our assumptions. We feel poorer and less self-sufficient because we have come to sense our limitations and the restriction of our freedom.” “The loss of employment, and of opportunities to be close to our loved ones and our regular acquaintances, suddenly opened our eyes to horizons that we had long since taken for granted.”
However, Pope Francis stresses, “now is a good time to recover ‘the conviction that we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for others and the world’.” In a word, he continues, “until we revive our sense of responsibility for our neighbour and for every person, grave economic, financial and political crises will continue.” Returning to this year’s theme, the Pope notes that it is “a summons to responsibility and commitment as men and women who are part of our one human family.”
Even during this pandemic, which has forced people into isolation, the Word of God “constantly impels us to acts of love,” Pope Francis says. He also describes how the command: ‘Stretch forth your hand to the poor’ “challenges the attitude of those who prefer to keep their hands in their pockets and to remain unmoved by situations of poverty in which they are often complicit.”
“Some hands are outstretched to accumulate money by the sale of weapons that others, including those of children, use to sow death and poverty… Others still, parading a sham respectability, lay down laws which they themselves do not observe.”
Concluding his message, the Pope recalls that in the book of Sirach it is written, ‘In everything you do, remember your end’. He continues by saying, “the ‘end’ of all our actions can only be love. This is the ultimate goal of our journey, and nothing should distract us from it.”