Categories: General Date: Nov 16, 2017 Title: World Day of the Poor
On Sunday, November 19, Roman Catholics will celebrate the first annual World Day of the Poor. This new world day of prayer was officially announced by Pope Francis in a letter dated June 13, 2017 and is to be observed annually on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Sunday preceding the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. The theme this year is “Let us love, not with words, but with deeds”, inspired by the First Letter of John (3:18).
In his apostolic letter Misericordia et miseria, written at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, Pope Francis announced a new ‘World Day of the Poor’, to be celebrated annually on the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, which is the Sunday preceding the feast of Christ the King. The first World Day of the Poor will be observed on Sunday, 19 November, 2017.
In Misericordia et miseria, Pope Francis describes the origins of this day:
“During the “Jubilee for Socially Excluded People”, as the Holy Doors of Mercy were being closed in all the cathedrals and shrines of the world, I had the idea that, as yet another tangible sign of this Extraordinary Holy Year, the entire Church might celebrate, on the Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time, the World Day of the Poor. This would be the worthiest way to prepare for the celebration of the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, who identified with the little ones and the poor and who will judge us on our works of mercy (cf. Mt 25:31-46). It would be a day to help communities and each of the baptised to reflect on how poverty is at the very heart of the Gospel and that, as long as Lazarus lies at the door of our homes (cf. Lk 16:19-21), there can be no justice or social peace. This Day will also represent a genuine form of new evangelisation (cf. Mt 11:5) which can renew the face of the Church as She perseveres in her perennial activity of pastoral conversion and witness to mercy.” (Misericordia et miseria)
In his message for the first World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis is calling on Christians around the world to serve the poor with concrete actions that address their daily needs
“Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth” (1 Jn 3:18). These words of the Apostle John voice an imperative that no Christian may disregard. The seriousness with which the “beloved disciple” hands down Jesus’ command to our own day is made even clearer by the contrast between the empty words so frequently on our lips and the concrete deeds against which we are called to measure ourselves. Love has no alibi. Whenever we set out to love as Jesus loved, we have to take the Lord as our example; especially when it comes to loving the poor. The Son of God’s way of loving is well-known, and John spells it out clearly. It stands on two pillars: God loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:10.19), and he loved us by giving completely of himself, even to laying down his life (cf. 1 Jn 3:16).