The Vatican

Giving concrete hope to the poor

The World Day of the Poor, instituted by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy three years ago, will be celebrated on November 17.

Giovanni Tridente-July 9, 2019-Reading time: 3 minutes

The World Day of the Poor, instituted by Pope Francis at the end of the Jubilee of Mercy three years ago, will be celebrated on November 17.

-text Giovanni Tridente

"The hope of the poor will never be frustrated.". It is taken from Psalm 9, the theme that Pope Francis has chosen for the III World Day of the Poor - instituted at the end of the 2016 Jubilee of Mercy - which is celebrated on the Sunday preceding the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe, which this year falls on November 17.

The topicality of the theme, says the Pope in the first lines of the Message he has written for this occasion, is given by the need the world is experiencing today for "restoring lost hope" to those who suffer "injustice, suffering and the precariousness of life".confirmed by an inequality that continues after the economic crisis.

The Holy Father reviews the many forms of slavery of the poorest and most vulnerable "millions of men, women, youth and children."We are also concerned about the orphans and victims of so many forms of violence, including drugs and prostitution, not to mention the millions of immigrants and so many marginalized and homeless people that we find in our cities.

"Generally considered as parasites of society, the poor are not even forgiven for their poverty."these people often become a part of the "from a human landfill"perceived as threatening or incapable just because they are poor.

It is a very dark picture, which Psalm 9 itself sets in the times in which it was composed, tinged with sadness, injustice and suffering. Nevertheless, there is a way out, because also in these conditions the poor are the ones who "trust in the Lord"We are sure that we will never be abandoned by Him. And this is what opens the way to hope and to "a path of liberation that transforms the heart, because it sustains it in its depths"..

Certainly, God acts through men and women, and the Christian is called to make this hope concrete for the poor, precisely because Christ himself has identified himself with the poor. "these my younger brothers". Not understanding this "is tantamount to falsifying the Gospel and watering down revelation."explains the Pope in the Message. The solution, therefore, as believers is to "to commit ourselves in the first person to a service that constitutes authentic evangelization.".

Welfare initiatives are welcome, but what Pope Francis is mainly aiming at is a change of mentality, which allows everyone to accompany the poor with a constant commitment over time, even in the normality of everyday life: his hope, in fact, takes form "when they recognize in our sacrifice an act of gratuitous love that seeks no reward"..

In addition to trying to satisfy the first material needs, it is opportune to discover the goodness that is hidden in the hearts of these people, establishing - attentive to their culture and their ways of expressing themselves - "a true fraternal dialogue".

Indeed, the poor, first and foremost, "have need of God, of his love made visible thanks to holy people who live next to them, those who in the simplicity of their lives express and manifest the strength of Christian love."through hands that soothe, through hearts that warm with affection, through the presence that overcomes loneliness: "simply, they need love".. In this way, they will be the ones who save us, because they will allow us to encounter the true face of Jesus Christ, as well as help us to leave behind that individualism that only encloses us in ourselves and in our own needs.

The initiatives

As it does every year, the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, which coordinates the World Day, will set up in St. Peter's Square a sanitary prisona real mobile hospital with various specializations where anyone in need can receive medical care free of charge. Last year, for example, more than 3,000 services were provided, in some cases saving lives as well as dozens of interventions related to infectious diseases.

There will also be a repeat of the lunch with Pope Francis in the Paul VI Hall for 1500 poor people from various parts of Italy and Europe, who will then participate in the Holy Mass at St. Peter's. A week before, they will be offered a concert with the Maestro Oscar Nicola Piovani and Bishop Frisina.

Many of these initiatives, as in previous years, will have their equivalent at the diocesan and parish levels throughout the world. n

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