(Part 25)


February 23, 2015

Today’s gospel:  Matthew 25:31-46

There are so many people in need in the world today. The most in need are the poor. They are those who do not have food (or not enough of it), those who are marginalized and in the peripheries of society, those without adequate clothing and shelter, those who are sick, those in prisons. They are neglected by the world at large, and even considered dregs of society, whom the high and mighty would want to just get rid of.

But there are enough resources in the world to meet the needs of the whole world population. Why then is there poverty? Because a few (both individuals and nations) take the bulk of the resources just for themselves. What then is the solution to poverty? It is when people learn how to value all others, and then share with them what God has provided.

This is a call not just to the rich and powerful, but to all Christians. We are to give food to the hungry, drink to the thirsty, welcome to the stranger, clothing to the naked, care for the sick, and visitation to those in prison (v.35-36).

Now God considers this as of such importance that Jesus identifies himself with such poor. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did to me.” (v.40). Is that not enough motivation to care for the poor? If it is hard to love the poor, it is easy enough to love God. We just need to realize that love for God translates itself directly to love for the poor, whom God loves and has a preferential option for.

But that is often not enough for people in the world who are naturally selfish and hard-hearted. We then need to know that there will be consequences to our not ministering to the needs of the poor. Since Jesus identifies directly with the poor, then when we reject the poor we also reject Jesus. If we reject Jesus, we will suffer the consequences, when at the end of time he also rejects us, saying, “Depart from me, you accursed” (v.41a). The consequences are dire, for we would then be sent off “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” (v.41b).

We in CFC-FFL are fortunate that God has given us the No One in Need (NONe) movement. If we somehow are unable to directly minister to the poor (though we should strive to do so), we can help others to do so, especially our own community efforts on behalf of the poor. We can provide money, contacts, prayers and encouragement.

Now we have extended this work with the poor to the whole Church through LCSC and its Live Full pillar. In this our part is to proclaim the gospel to all, particularly to lapsed Catholics. As they meet Christ and start to live and share Christ, they will also be introduced to the work of poverty alleviation.

LCSC is about the work of bringing salvation into the lives of people. NONe is about ourselves experiencing such salvation, when at the last judgment we look forward to being told by the Lord to join the sheep and not the goats (v.31-34). “And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” (v.46).

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