14th Sunday in OT (A)
July 1, 2020
Our Lady, your study friend
July 1, 2020

The Mission of the Church to the Poor

By Terrence and Loanna Caesar

The Church’s Mission is to carry out and continue the work of Jesus Christ on Earth. The Church does this by sharing the Word of God, helping those in need and by being living examples of Jesus’ love to all.

The word Church refers to all of us gathered together as the people of God, who nourished with the Word of God and the Holy Eucharist become the Body of Christ.

Poor refers to the state of lacking sufficient of something to be considered as normal in society.

Thus, we can identify three main groups of poverty where persons may be either financially poor, morally poor, or spiritually poor.

We know what it means to be financially poor, and morally poor speaks to persons who lack the moral fibre that society may expect to consider the person as a ‘good’ person. Now spiritual poverty means that persons lack that relationship with God and this is the worst of them all.

There is a minority who believe that the Church’s distribution of hampers during this pandemic is simply because of the pandemic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Church has always tried to provide what is needed for the poor among us. The Society of St Vincent de Paul may be the best-known organisation of the Church internationally as far as the Church’s dealings with the poor.

Those of us in this twin-island republic would also be aware of Communities such as Living Water, Eternal Light, Emmanuel, and Zion among others that have constantly sought to assist the less fortunate among us.

To return to the three forms of poverty mentioned, society tends to consider the financially poor person as the only poor among us and there are times when we are tempted to think that their poor financial state somehow makes them a little less than we are. Oh, how wrong we are!

Scripture tells us how to act and treat the poor, as in the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 15:7–8,10, where we are told how to take care of the poor; Job 5:15–16, where we are told how God seeks to rescue the poor; Proverbs 19:17 and  22:9, both of which speak to the reward from God for being kind to the poor; and the New Testament that tells us of how blessed the poor are and that they will inherit God’s Kingdom in the Gospel of Matthew 5:1–7.

So while we are mandated by God to take care of those who are financially poor among us, and to try to help those who may be morally poor, we need to recognise that we are all spiritually poor, just at different levels of spiritual poverty, and that is a good thing.

Being spiritually poor means that we have to constantly stay in the presence of God through prayer and studying His Word so as to feed our spiritual selves, our very life which was given to us by the Breath of God.

St Augustine said it succinctly in one of his homilies when he reminded us that we need to be poor in spirit to be able to truly share in Jesus’ life. We must remember that Jesus would have been considered a poor man, financially poor. He was born in a stable and when He started His Mission here on earth, had no place to sleep (Matt 8:20).

Our Catholic social teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us that we as Church must always strive for the common good and have a ‘preferential love for the poor’.

Just as Jesus asked the rich young man to put aside his earthly possessions so as to be with Him, so are we called to put aside our earthly possessions in favour of God, and share what we have, Time, Treasure or Talent.

Part of the Cub Scout law says, “A Cub Scout always does his best, thinks of others before himself and does a good turn every day.”

So my brothers and sisters in Christ, having celebrated the Feast of Pentecost, let us embrace the Holy Spirit given to us at our Baptism and show the world what it is to be a child of Christ, what it means to love others, what it means to love God.

Be blessed. Be safe. Be generous to those in need.