First World Day of the Poor


This past Sunday, November 19, was the first World Day of the Poor. Pope Francis marked the event with the Celebration of Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica. He was assisted by the poor, migrants and homeless, who served as liturgical ministers. Around 1,500 poor joined the Holy Father for a special meal in the Vatican audience hall following the liturgy. In his homily, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the talents, urging his hearers to see themselves as cooperators in God’s plan of redemption.

He said: “To do no wrong is not enough. God is not an inspector looking for unstamped tickets; he is a Father looking for children to whom he can entrust his property and his plans.” Whereas we tend to justify our lack of attention to the poor with myriad excuses, yet still espouse strong moral positions, Pope Francis indicated that “God will not ask us if we felt righteous indignation but whether we did some good.”

During this season, as we celebrate abundance and harvest the goods of the earth, we would do well to consider what practical, concrete good God is calling us to do for the least of our brothers and sisters. The Pope reminded us that “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love.” May we be as attentive to those in need as we would be to Jesus himself, not only during this season but throughout the entire year.