“I assure you, as often as you did it for one of My least brothers, you did it for Me.” –Matthew 25:40
The Lord says that you shall not “stand by idly when your neighbor’s life is at stake” (Lv 19:16). The Lord says: “I assure you, as often as you did or did not provide for the needs of the least of your brothers and sisters, you did or did not do it for Me” (see Mt 25:40, 45). The Lord expects us to recognize the Lazaruses at our doors (Lk 16:19ff) and “love in deed and in truth and not merely talk about it” (1 Jn 3:18). We are to see Jesus in the poor, love and serve the poor, and even be in solidarity with the poor.
This means that we must listen to the teachings of the Church. Pope John Paul II taught that we should “carry out a sincere review of [our] lives regarding [our] solidarity with the poor” (Mission of the Redeemer, 60). We must imitate Jesus and have a preferential love for the poor (Catechism, 2448). St. John Chrysostom insisted: “Not to enable the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.” St. Gregory the Great taught: “When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice” (Catechism, 2446).
The Church through the centuries echoes: “Love the poor in Jesus; love Jesus in the poor.”
PRAYER: Father, this Lent may I give alms to the extent that my lifestyle changes significantly.
PROMISE: “Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” –Lv 19:18
PRAISE: St. Polycarp, a student of St. John the Evangelist for nearly sixteen years, was one of those early Christians honored by God to give his life in martyrdom for his King.