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‘Poverty is a scandal’, Pope says and urges Christians to use their gifts for charity – The Catholic Leader | CPT PPP Coverage

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‘Poverty is a scandal’, Pope says and urges Christians to use their gifts for charity – The Catholic Leader appeared on by CNS.

THE material, cultural and spiritual poverties that exist in the world are a “scandal” that Christians were called to address by putting their God-given capacity for charity and love into action, Pope Francis said.

The poor, whether “the oppressed, fatigued, marginalised, victims of war,” migrants, the hungry, those without work or left without hope, “are not one, two, or three, they are a multitude,” the Pope said during a Mass celebrated for World Day of the Poor on November 19 in St Peter’s Basilica.

“And thinking of this immense multitude of the poor, the message of the Gospel is clear – let us not bury the wealth of the Lord. Let us spread charity, share our bread, multiply love,” he said.

“Poverty is a scandal.”

Among the 5000 who filled the basilica for Mass were homeless persons and other people in need who were seated in the front rows near Pope Francis.

After celebrating Mass and praying the Angelus, the Pope ate lunch in the Vatican audience hall with 1250 people, continuing a tradition he began on the first World Day of the Poor in 2017.

Seated at a central table, the Pope prayed that God would bless the food and “this moment of friendship, all together”.

This year’s World Day of the Poor, the seventh edition, drew its theme from the Book of Tobit: “Do not turn your face away from anyone who is poor.”

In the week leading up to the world day, the Holy See extended the hours and operations of a medical clinic it runs near St Peter’s Square dedicated to caring for anyone in need.

Pope Francis eats lunch with his guests on the World Day of the Poor.
Photo: CNS/Vatican Media

In his homily at the Mass, Pope Francis said Christians “have received from the Lord the gift of his love and we are called to become a gift to others”.

Archbishop Rino Fisichella, the organiser of the world day, was the main celebrant at the altar.

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel reading from St Matthew, in which Jesus tells the parable of a man who buries the money given to him by his master rather than seek to multiply it, the Pope lamented the many “buried Christians” who hide their gifts and talents underground.

Mercy, compassion, joy and hope, he said, “are goods that we cannot keep only for ourselves”.

“We can multiply all that we have received, making life an offering of love for others,” the Pope said, “or we can be blocked by a false image of God and because of fear hide underground the treasure we have received, thinking only of ourselves, without becoming passionate about anything other than our own comforts and interests.”

Pope Francis said just as the master in the Gospel reading returned to his servants to “settle his accounts” with them, people must prepare for Jesus’ coming at the end of time in which he “settles the accounts of history and introduces us to the joy of eternal life”.

“We must ask ourselves, then: How will the Lord find me when I return?” he said.

The Pope referenced the writings of St Ambrose, who wrote that upon his return Jesus will ask, “Why did you allow so many of the poor to die of hunger when you possessed gold to buy food for them?”

The Pope also urged people to be mindful of poverty’s “modesty,” noting that “poverty is discreet, it hides. It must be us to go look for it, with courage.”

“Let us pray that each of us, according to the gift we have received and the mission entrusted to us, may strive to make charity bear fruit and draw near to a poor person,” he said.

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