THE POOR OPEN THE WAY TO HEAVEN FOR US
It was a very special day at the Vatican Sunday as Pope Francis presided at Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica to mark the First World Day of the Poor. The Holy Father had announced the World Day of the Poor during the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy, and entrusted its organization and promotion to the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. It is to be marked annually, on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
In his homily Pope Francis said, “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love.…If in the eyes of the world they have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven. … “For us, it is an evangelical duty to care for them as our real riches, and to do so not only by giving them bread, but also by breaking with them the bread of God’s word, which is addressed first to them. To love the poor,a” said Francis, “means to combat all forms of poverty, spiritual and material.”
There were some 7,000 people at the Mass, of whom about 4000 were the needy and homeless, invited by the Vatican.
After Mass Pope Francis offered lunch in the Paul VI Hall. He spoke to them in off the cuff remarks, saying, “Welcome everyone! We pray that the Lord bless us, bless this meal, bless those who have prepared it, bless us all, bless our hearts, our families, our desires, our lives and give us health and strength.” The Holy Father went on to ask God’s blessing on all those eating and serving in soup kitchens throughout the city. Rome is full of charity and good will today.”
Photos from L’Osservatore Romano photographer: