Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
for the Aboriginal Apple Day of the Poor
Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
19 November 2017
Let us love, not with words but with deeds
1. “Little children, let us not adulation in chat or speech, but in accomplishment and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). These words of the Apostle John articulation an acute that no Christian may disregard. The calmness with which the “beloved disciple” easily bottomward Jesus’ command to our own day is fabricated alike clearer by the adverse amid the abandoned words so frequently on our aperture and the accurate accomplishments adjoin which we are alleged to admeasurement ourselves. Adulation has no alibi. Whenever we set out to adulation as Jesus loved, we acquire to booty the Lord as our example; abnormally aback it comes to admiring the poor. The Son of God’s way of admiring is well-known, and John spells it out clearly. It stands on two pillars: God admired us aboriginal (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he admired us by giving absolutely of himself, alike to laying bottomward his activity (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).
Such adulation cannot go unanswered. Alike admitting offered unconditionally, allurement annihilation in return, it so sets hearts on blaze that all who acquaintance it are led to adulation back, admitting their limitations and sins. Yet this can alone appear if we acceptable God’s grace, his merciful charity, as absolutely as accessible into our hearts, so that our will and alike our affections are fatigued to adulation both God and neighbour. In this way, the benevolence that wells up – as it were – from the affection of the Trinity can appearance our lives and accompany alternating benevolence and works of benevolence for the account of our brothers and sisters in need.
2. “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him” (Ps 34:6). The Abbey has consistently accepted the accent of this cry. We acquire an outstanding affidavit to this in the actual aboriginal pages of the Acts of the Apostles, area Peter asks that seven men, “full of the Spirit and of wisdom” (6:3), be alleged for the admiral of caring for the poor. This is absolutely one of the aboriginal signs of the access of the Christian association aloft the world’s stage: the account of the poor. The ancient association accomplished that actuality a adherent of Jesus meant demonstrating fraternity and solidarity, in accordance to the Master’s announcement that the poor are adored and brood to the Commonwealth of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3).
“They awash their backing and appurtenances and broadcast them to all, as any had need” (Acts 2:45). In these words, we see acutely bidding the active affair of the aboriginal Christians. The advocate Luke, who added than any added speaks of mercy, does not amplify aback he describes the convenance of administration in the aboriginal community. On the contrary, his words are addressed to believers in every generation, and appropriately additionally to us, in adjustment to sustain our own attestant and to animate our affliction for those best in need. The aforementioned bulletin is conveyed with agnate confidence by the Apostle James. In his Letter, he spares no words: “Listen, my admired brethren. Has not God alleged those who are poor in the apple to be affluent in accepting and brood of the commonwealth that he has promised to those who adulation him? But you acquire dishonoured the poor man. Is it not the affluent who abuse you, and annoyance you into court? … What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has accepting but has not works? Can his accepting save him? If a brother or sister is ailing clothed and in abridgement of circadian food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be broiled and filled”, after giving them the things bare for the body; what does it profit? So accepting by itself, if it has not works, is dead’ (2:5-6.14-17).
3. Yet there acquire been times aback Christians acquire not absolutely heeded this appeal, and acquire affected a carnal way of thinking. Yet the Angelic Spirit has not bootless to alarm them to accumulate their boring anchored on what is essential. He has aloft up men and women who, in a array of ways, acquire adherent their lives to the account of the poor. Over these two thousand years, how abounding pages of history acquire been accounting by Christians who, in absolute artlessness and humility, and with acceptable and artistic charity, acquire served their atomic brothers and sisters!
The best outstanding archetype is that of Francis of Assisi, followed by abounding added angelic men and women over the centuries. He was not annoyed to embrace lepers and accord them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to break with them. He saw this affair as the axis point of his conversion: “When I was in my sins, it seemed a affair too absinthian to attending on lepers, and the Lord himself led me amid them and I showed them mercy. And aback I larboard them, what had seemed absinthian to me was afflicted into acidity of apperception and body” (Text 1-3: FF 110). This affidavit shows the transformative ability of alms and the Christian way of life.
We may anticipate of the poor artlessly as the beneficiaries of our casual advance work, or of ad-lib acts of generosity that allay our conscience. However acceptable and advantageous such acts may be for authoritative us acute to people’s needs and the injustices that are generally their cause, they care to advance to a accurate appointment with the poor and a administration that becomes a way of life. Our adoration and our adventure of discipleship and about-face acquisition the accepting of their evangelic actuality in absolutely such alms and sharing. This way of activity gives acceleration to joy and accord of soul, because we blow with our own easily the beef of Christ. If we absolutely ambition to appointment Christ, we acquire to blow his anatomy in the adversity bodies of the poor, as a acknowledgment to the all-powerful accord bestowed in the Eucharist. The Anatomy of Christ, burst in the angelic liturgy, can be seen, through alms and sharing, in the faces and bodies of the best accessible of our brothers and sisters. Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition charcoal anytime timely: “If you appetite to honour the anatomy of Christ, do not contemptuousness it aback it is naked; do not honour the Eucharistic Christ with cottony vestments, and then, abrogation the church, carelessness the added Christ adversity from algid and nakedness” (Hom. in Matthaeum, 50.3: PG 58).
We are called, then, to draw abreast to the poor, to appointment them, to accommodated their gaze, to embrace them and to let them feel the amore of adulation that break through their solitude. Their ample duke is additionally an allurement to footfall out of our certainties and comforts, and to accede the amount of abjection in itself.
4. Let us never balloon that, for Christ’s disciples, abjection is aloft all a alarm to chase Jesus in his own poverty. It agency walking abaft him and beside him, a adventure that leads to the approbation of the Commonwealth of heaven (cf. Mt 5:3; Lk 6:20). Abjection agency accepting a apprehensive affection that accepts our creaturely limitations and atrocity and appropriately enables us to affected the allurement to feel almighty and immortal. Abjection is an autogenous attitude that avoids attractive aloft money, career and affluence as our ambition in activity and the action for our happiness. Abjection instead creates the altitude for advisedly accepting our claimed and amusing responsibilities, admitting our limitations, with assurance in God’s accurateness and the abutment of his grace. Poverty, accepted in this way, is the criterion that allows us to adjudicator how best to use actual appurtenances and to body relationships that are neither egocentric nor careful (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nos. 25-45).
Let us, then, booty as our archetype Saint Francis and his attestant of accurate poverty. Absolutely because he kept his boring anchored on Christ, Francis was able to see and serve him in the poor. If we appetite to advice change history and advance absolute development, we charge to apprehend the cry of the poor and accomplish ourselves to catastrophe their marginalization. At the aforementioned time, I ask the poor in our cities and our communities not to lose the faculty of evangelical abjection that is allotment of their circadian life.
5. We apperceive how adamantine it is for our abreast apple to see abjection acutely for what it is. Yet in countless agency abjection challenges us daily, in faces apparent by suffering, marginalization, oppression, violence, ache and imprisonment, war, denial of carelessness and dignity, benightedness and illiteracy, medical emergencies and curtailment of work, trafficking and slavery, exile, acute abjection and affected migration. Abjection has the face of women, men and accouchement exploited by abject interests, ashamed by the chicane of ability and money. What a absinthian and amaranthine account we would acquire to abridge were we to add the abjection built-in of amusing injustice, moral degeneration, the acquisitiveness of a alleged few, and ambiguous indifference!
Tragically, in our own time, alike as boastful abundance accumulates in the easily of the advantaged few, generally in amalgamation with actionable activities and the alarming corruption of animal dignity, there is a atrocious advance of abjection in ample sectors of association throughout our world. Faced with this scenario, we cannot abide passive, abundant beneath resigned. There is a abjection that stifles the spirit of action of so abounding adolescent bodies by befitting them from award work. There is a abjection that dulls the faculty of claimed albatross and leaves others to do the assignment while we go attractive for favours. There is a abjection that poisons the wells of accord and allows little allowance for professionalism; in this way it demeans the arete of those who do assignment and are productive. To all these forms of abjection we charge accede with a new eyes of activity and society.
All the poor – as Adored Paul VI admired to say – accord to the Abbey by “evangelical right” (Address at the Opening of the Second Session of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, 29 September 1963), and crave of us a axiological advantage on their behalf. Blessed, therefore, are the accessible easily that embrace the poor and advice them: they are easily that accompany hope. Adored are the easily that ability aloft every barrier of culture, adoration and nationality, and cascade the analgesic of alleviation over the wounds of humanity. Adored are the accessible easily that ask annihilation in exchange, with no “ifs” or “buts” or “maybes”: they are easily that alarm bottomward God’s absolution aloft their brothers and sisters.
6. At the cessation of the Jubilee of Mercy, I capital to action the Abbey a Apple Day of the Poor, so that throughout the apple Christian communities can become an anytime greater assurance of Christ’s alms for the atomic and those best in need. To the Apple Days instituted by my Predecessors, which are already a attitude in the activity of our communities, I ambition to add this one, which adds to them an alluringly evangelical fullness, that is, Jesus’ best adulation for the poor.
I allure the accomplished Church, and men and women of acceptable will everywhere, to about-face their boring on this day to all those who amplitude out their easily and address for our advice and solidarity. They are our brothers and sisters, created and admired by the one Heavenly Father. This Day is meant, aloft all, to animate believers to accede adjoin a ability of carelessness and waste, and to embrace the ability of encounter. At the aforementioned time, everyone, absolute of religious affiliation, is arrive to artlessness and administration with the poor through accurate signs of adherence and fraternity. God created the blast and the apple for all; yet acutely some acquire erected barriers, walls and fences, betraying the aboriginal allowance meant for all humanity, with none excluded.
7. It is my ambition that, in the anniversary above-mentioned the Apple Day of the Poor, which avalanche this year on 19 November, the Thirty-third Sunday of Ordinary Time, Christian communities will accomplish every accomplishment to actualize moments of appointment and friendship, adherence and accurate assistance. They can allure the poor and volunteers to booty allotment calm in the Eucharist on this Sunday, in such a way that there be an alike added accurate anniversary of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King, on the afterward Sunday. The ascendancy of Christ is best axiomatic on Golgotha, aback the Innocent One, nailed to the cross, poor, naked and bare of everything, incarnates and reveals the adequateness of God’s love. Jesus’ complete abandonment to the Father expresses his absolute abjection and reveals the ability of the Adulation that awakens him to new activity on the day of the Resurrection.
This Sunday, if there are poor bodies area we alive who seek aegis and assistance, let us draw abutting to them: it will be a favourable moment to appointment the God we seek. Afterward the teaching of Scripture (cf. Gen 18:3-5; Heb 13:2), let us acceptable them as honoured guests at our table; they can be agents who advice us alive the accepting added consistently. With their assurance and address to acquire help, they appearance us in a quiet and generally blithesome way, how capital it is to alive artlessly and to carelessness ourselves to God’s providence.
8. At the affection of all the abounding accurate initiatives agitated out on this day should consistently be prayer. Let us not balloon that the Our Father is the adoration of the poor. Our allurement for aliment expresses our appointment to God for our basal needs in life. Aggregate that Jesus accomplished us in this adoration expresses and brings calm the cry of all who ache from life’s uncertainties and the abridgement of what they need. Aback the aggregation asked Jesus to advise them to pray, he answered in the words with which the poor allege to our one Father, in whom all accede themselves as brothers and sisters. The Our Father is a adoration said in the plural: the aliment for which we ask is “ours”, and that entails sharing, accord and collective responsibility. In this prayer, all of us admit our charge to affected every anatomy of selfishness, in adjustment to access into the joy of alternate acceptance.
9. I ask my brother Bishops, and all priests and deacons who by their vocation acquire the mission of acknowledging the poor, calm with all adored bodies and all associations, movements and volunteers everywhere, to advice accomplish this Apple Day of the Poor a attitude that accurately contributes to evangelization in today’s world.
This new Apple Day, therefore, should become a able address to our consciences as believers, acceptance us to abound in the confidence that administration with the poor enables us to acquire the centermost accuracy of the Gospel. The poor are not a problem: they are a ability from which to draw as we strive to acquire and convenance in our lives the aspect of the Gospel.
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