The Cathedral Connection 17 November 2019

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World Day of the Poor

Pope Francis invites us today to remember the 3rd World Day of the Poor, by taking the opportunity to reach out to meet people experiencing financial hardship, homelessness and isolation.

In his message announcing the theme he stressed the vital importance of the both “embracing and assisting the poor, the oppressed and outcast” who he in his typically vivid language has called the “left over people.”

His emphasis is on being with and what he described in his reference to the Church hospital as the need for “proximity”, getting close to and remaining near the poor. Moreover, the focus of the theme is a verse from Psalm 9:19 “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever”.

Pope Francis writes “If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelisers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope”. The showing of “tangible seeds of hope” is far from a naive exhortation to a superficial optimism. It is an invitation to engage long term with the real hopes of the poor themselves. This positive engagement draws us into the “good news” stories of the poor themselves. Pope Francis closes his message by calling on all Christians and people of goodwill “to cooperate effectively so that no one will feel deprived of closeness (“proximity”) and solidarity.”

His message for the World Day of the Poor encourages us to seek people’s 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 true dialogue.”

Let us take Pope Francis’ message to heart and attempt to live it in our own lives.

Fr Ron

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