Thursday, December 25, 2014

God's Preference for the Poor


Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Mary breaks into song. She glorifies God for the wonderful things the He has done for her – such wonderful things that will identify her as blessed and loved by God. Her song is one of gratitude for God looked with favor upon her lowliness. She recognized the fact that even her election as God’s Mother is sheer grace coming from God.

Recognizing the wonderful things God has done for her, Mary begins singing about the wonderful things that God is about to do for the world. She sings about the inversion of the social order. She sings of how God constantly sides with the poor, the hungry, and the humble. She sings of how God will bring down the proud, the mighty, and the rich. “God shows the poor ‘his first mercy’. This divine preference has consequences for the faith life of all Christians, since we are called to have ‘this mind…which was in Jesus Christ. Inspired by this, the Church has made an option for the poor which is understood as a ‘special form of primacy in the exercise of Christian charity…” (Evangelii Gaudium, 198.)

Because God sides with the poor, we have to be, at all times, in the side of God. Thus, Pope Francis says: “I want a Church which is poor and for the poor. They have much to teach us…In their difficulties, they know the suffering Christ. We need to let ourselves be evangelized by them. The new evangelization is an invitation to acknowledge the saving power at work in their lives and to put them at the center of the Church’s pilgrim way. We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them, and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.” Pope Francis speaks of a loving attentiveness which we must give to the poor. This loving attentiveness entails “appreciating the poor in their goodness, in their experience of life, in their culture, in their ways of living the faith. True love is always contemplative , and permits us to serve the other not out of necessity or vanity, but because he or she is beautiful above  and beyond mere appearances…The poor person, when loved, ‘is esteemed as of great value.’…only on the basis of this real and sincere closeness can we properly accompany the poor on their path of liberation. Only this will ensure that in every Christian community, the poor feel at home. This approach (would be) the greatest and the most effective presentation of the good news of the Kingdom.” (EG, 199.)

This preferential option for the poor would demand from ourselves, as a parish, the need to address the lack of spiritual care which the poor suffer. “The great majority of the poor have a special openness to the faith; they need God and we must not fail to offer them his friendship, his blessing, his word, the celebration of the sacraments and a journey of growth and maturity in the faith. Our preferential option for the poor must mainly translate into a privileged and preferential religious care.” (EG, 200)

“None of us can think that we are exempt from concern for the poor and for social justice: Spiritual conversion, the intensity of the love of God and neighbor, zeal for justice and peace, the Gospel meaning of the poor and of poverty, are required of everyone.” (EG, 201.)  Therefore, in Christ, we are to find our anointing to bring glad tidings to the poor, to announce to them the year of favor coming from the Lord.

Jesus, I trust in you. O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

No comments:

Post a Comment