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Bishop Burbidge's statement on the World Day of the Poor

Nov. 17, 2019

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On Sunday, November 17, our Holy Father Pope Francis has called upon us to observe the third annual World Day of the Poor. Our Holy Father invites us to embrace our calling as Christian disciples and to bring hope to those in our own diocese and throughout the world who suffer from material or spiritual poverty.

Sacred Scripture reveals Our Lord’s response to the poor: He hears their cry, comes to their aid, protects and defends them, and rescues and saves them. Throughout His time on earth, Jesus, faced with countless people in need, identifies the poor as having a special place in His heart. He tells His disciples, “Whatever you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did to me” (Mt 25:40). Pope Francis warns that if we fail to identify with and bring the message of hope to the poor, through both acts of service and by accompanying them, “we falsify the Gospel and water down God’s revelation.”

In establishing His Kingdom, Jesus placed the poor at the center. How can we assist Him in serving those upon whom he has looked so tenderly? We can join in efforts, through our parishes and Catholic Charities, to serve those who are hungry or homeless, pregnant or alone, sick or elderly, prisoners or newcomers to our country. More simply, we can seek ways to encounter those who are poor through kind conversation or extending our hands to help.

As we serve the poor in word and deed, may we open ourselves to the source of true love and hope, Jesus Christ. Guided by His Holy Spirit, may our works of charity bring us and all those we serve closer to God and one another.

Sincerely in Christ,

 

Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge

Bishop of Arlington

 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019