THE SERVANT GENERAL
NO ONE IN NEED
SERVING THE POOR
God commanded His people Israel: “Be holy, for I, the
Lord your God, am holy.” (Lv 19:2). Today God commands
and expects the same holiness of His people. We become holy
by obeying God’s precepts, by observing His statutes.
What are those?
commands are varied--from revering mother and father, and
keeping the sabbath (Lv 19:3), to not turning aside to idols
(Lv 19:4), to not stealing or speaking falsely of another
(Lv 19:11), to not hating kindred (Lv 19:17a). But what is
significant is God’s preference for the poor. The Israelites
are commanded to:
unharvested portions of fields and vineyards when they reap,
which the poor can then take (Lv 19:9-10).
withhold overnight the wages of a laborer (Lv 19:13c).
insult the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the
blind (Lv 19:14).
A few other commands, not addressed directly to conduct toward
the poor, would have the greater effect on the poor.
shall not steal.” (Lv 19:11a). One who takes what
is more than his just share of the world’s goods and
refuses to share with those in need in effect steals what
God intended for that poor person.
shall not exploit your neighbor.” (Lv 19:13a). Oftentimes
the rich exploit the poor, whether speaking of individuals
shall not act dishonestly in rendering judgment.”
(Lv 19:15a). Oftentimes the poor are not accorded just treatment
in courts of law due to their poverty and lack of power
shall not go about spreading slander among your people.”
(Lv 19:16a). The rich and powerful unjustly criticize and
malign the poor for, as they claim, being irresponsible
in having too many children, or being too lazy to work,
or being prone to commit crime.
shall you stand by idly when your neighbor’s life
is at stake.” (Lv 19:16b). The world in effect stands
by idly while many in poor countries are literally dying
of hunger, even as the world has surplus resources it can
shall not hate any of your kindred in your heart.”
(Lv 19:17a). Population controllers disdain the poor, feverishly
working to limit the populations especially of poorer nations,
through contraception, abortion, sterilization and euthanasia.
Now God commands. If we do not obey, we can expect to be punished.
But little do most people know how severe the punishment would
be. Jesus tells about the judgment at the end of time, when
“all the nations will be assembled before him. And he
will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates
the sheep from the goats.” (Mt 25:32). The sheep on
the right will be blessed by the Father and will inherit the
kingdom (Mt 25:34). The goats on the left will be sent “off
to eternal punishment” (Mt 25:46a).
will be the one criterion? It will be how we treated Jesus.
Jesus? Yes. In how we treated the poor. Jesus identifies himself
with the poor. The criterion will be whatever we did or did
not do to the poor. “Amen, I say to you, whatever you
did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”
(Mt 25:40). “Amen, I say to you, what you did not do
for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.”
are we supposed to do for the poor? Jesus says, “For
I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave
me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed
me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.”
Thus in CFC-FFL we have our Core Value of “Living a
Preferential Option for the Poor.” This is why we have
our No One in Need (NONe) movement. This
is why we have our prison ministry. This is why we have our
massive evangelization of the grassroots, so that we can bring
those who are strangers to the Kingdom into the Church and
welcome them as our brethren.
with the poor is critical work. It is part of our path to
holiness. And it is the path that will bring “the righteous
to eternal life.” (Mt 25:46b).