Jesus Loves the Poor

The Catholic Calendar for Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Tuesday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture from today’s Liturgy of the Word:
Romans 1:16-25
Psalm 19:2-3, 4-5
Luke 11:37-41

A reflection on today’s Sacred Scripture:

You fools! (Luke 11:40)

I don’t know about you, but if Jesus were at my dinner table giving me a “talking-to” over my impenetrable stupidity, I’d be all ears! Jesus was speaking to His dinner host, a Pharisee, who was taken aback when Jesus sat down to eat without first washing his hands, as prescribed by a Pharisee ritual. Jesus immediately rebuked him, “Although you cleanse the outside of the cup and the dish, inside you are filled with plunder and evil.” (Luke 11:39)

Jesus’ response seems insulting, but it was out of love that He told the Pharisee to clean up his heart, not just his hands and, among other things, to start loving the poor and stop disregarding them. “As to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 11:41) Jesus wanted the Pharisee to know how to merit eternal life by keeping the Commandments and to recognize what pleases the Father. He wanted him to get it!

He wants us to get it, too, but sometimes we don’t, despite the sobering lessons He sends us. Today’s Gospel teaches us to share Jesus’ concern for the poor and to humbly appreciate His concern for us. He blesses us when we come to the aid of those in need, but rebukes us when we turn away from them. We learn from the Pharisee’s lack of charity, that giving alms is one of our most important witnesses to brotherly love.

I recall the times I didn’t stop to help the hungry, the sick, the homeless and the forgotten. Perhaps, like the Pharisee, I was so filled with selfishness, I couldn’t give what I didn’t have. But since Jesus especially loves the poor, and He loves me too, I know I’ll be given another chance.

“When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them, we serve Jesus.”
– St. Rose of Lima

~ Elizabeth A. Tichvon |


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