THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2015
NO ONE IN NEED - 2
The psalmist speaks clearly about who God is, that “the
Lord loves the righteous” (Ps 146:8c) and that he “thwarts
the way of the wicked.” (Ps 146:9c). The way forward
for God’s people is clearto do good and avoid evil,
to be holy and shun wickedness. In God’s call to be
good and not bad, He situates that within the context of work
with the poor, or those in need.
Lord “secures justice for the oppressed” (Ps 146:7a).
Many people are oppressedChristians in the Middle East,
children exploited at labor, women trafficked. They are those
who have no power, and are used by those who do have power
and money. Those who are oppressed are deprived of what they
rightly deserve as children of God life, liberty, the
pursuit of happiness. Their restoration begins with returning
to a right relationship with the God of justice.
Lord “gives bread to the hungry” (Ps 146:7b).
Many people in the world are hungry, and are even dying of
starvation. The real tragedy is that there is enough food
and resources in the world to feed everyone. The real problem
is selfishness and lack of sharing. If people, especially
the rich (individuals and nations alike), shared what they
had, there would be no one in need.
Lord sets prisoners free” (Ps 146:7c). The poorest of
the poor are those languishing in prisons of the world, at
times innocent but there because of poverty. They have lost
their lives, their families, their freedom and their future.
But there is something they can freely have that can set them
free. It is Jesus and the gospel of salvation in him.
“Lord gives sight to the blind” (Ps 146:8a). Many
people are blind not seeing the value of the child in
the womb, not appreciating the blessing of life-long indissoluble
marriage, being consumed by materialism and hedonism, not
seeing Jesus in the poor. Only faith in Jesus can remove the
scales from their eyes.
Lord raises up those who are bowed down” (Ps 146:8b).
Many people are weighed down by the problems and challenges
of life. They often sink deeper and deeper into the mire,
until they can no longer rise. But we need to see that suffering
and pain are salvific, that God allows these to come into
our lives in order to purify us and to draw us closer to Him.
As we respond to the difficulties of life with joy, God is
able to work wonders and raise us to the heights.
Lord protects the resident alien” (Ps 146:9a). In a
world of migration, oftentimes due to economic need, to oppression
and also war, many people today are uprooted from their homes,
separated from their loved ones, struggling to cope with loneliness
and misery. God commands His Church to care for them, even
as states do not. God commands His people to provide them
the families, homes and love that they cannot find elsewhere
but in the Christian community.
Lord “comes to the aid of the orphan and the widow”
(Ps 146:9b). The orphan and the widow are those among society’s
poorest, with no one to care for them. They are left to fend
for themselves, with widows having no sources of livelihood,
with children roaming the streets to beg. Totally dependent
upon God’s mercy, they are our way to caring for Jesus
himself as we help them.
All these poor are like Onesimus, a human slave, with no rights
nor future. Running away from his master Philemon, he runs
into Paul and is converted to Christ. Suddenly, while he remains
poor and the slave of Philemon, his whole life is radically
changed. He “was once useless to you but is now useful
to both you and me.” (Phlm 11). He is “no longer
as a slave but more than a slave, a brother” (Phlm 16a).
Not having known love, he is now “beloved especially
to me” (Phlm 16b). Being of no account, now he has his
dignity as a human being and a child of God, “as a man
and in the Lord.” (Phlm 16c).
we are the Philemons of the world. We are not necessarily
bad people. We might even be good Christians doing Christian
service, and we hear others tell us, “the hearts of
the holy ones have been refreshed by you, brother.”
(Phlm 7b). But we might be blind to the enslavement of many
in the world, with some of them so due to our own neglect
or sin. Paul tells us what he has told Philemon, that we are
to recognize who these slaves are, and to “welcome him
as you would me.” (Phlm 17b).
Because we ourselves are slaves of Christ. We belong to him.
“May I not tell you that you owe me your very self.”
(Phlm 19b). When we embrace the poor, we can then be used
profitably by God to do His work among His beloved poor, and
we certainly will bring joy to the heart of Jesus. “Yes,
brother, may I profit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart
in Christ.” (Phlm 20).
loves the poor. We are called to follow him. Jesus identifies
with the suffering poor. May we ourselves embrace his cross
and endure the suffering and oppression that come with following
and serving him. And through all this, may we know that the
cross indeed is the way of Jesus. But after we have suffered
a little, we will enter into eternal glory. “For just
as lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to
the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first
he must suffer greatly and be rejected by this generation.”
poor are those who are rejected by this generation and who
suffer. We too, as we proclaim the authentic gospel, including
a preferential option for the poor, will be rejected and will
be oppressed. Know that that is cause for joy, and eternal
Such is God’s eternal work. And such is God’s
call to us, to bring good news to the poor, so that no one
will be in need. Jesus is Emmanuel, the God who is with us.
The Spirit of God is within us. Even in a world of darkness
and tears and deprivation, God is already present and the
Kingdom is already at hand. “For behold, the kingdom
of God is among you.” (Lk 17:21b). Let us act accordingly,
as true citizens of the Kingdom.
at the end of time, after all the generations that follow
after us, we will be judged according to how we reached out
to the least of our brethren. May we always know and proclaim
this truth: “The Lord shall reign forever, your God,
Zion, through all generations! Hallelujah!” (Ps 146:10).