"He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor will himself also call and not be heard." —Proverbs 21:13
Whatever we do for "the least of the brethren," we do for Jesus (Mt 25:40). When we don't give to "the least of the brethren," we also deprive ourselves of receiving. We'll have possessions which we've withheld from the poor, but we won't have power, peace, joy, or fulfillment.
If we don't answer the prayers of the poor, the Lord doesn't answer our prayer (Prv 21:13). "If one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members share its joy" (1 Cor 12:26). We're either happy all together or we're all unhappy. For example, if one part of your physical body is hurting, your whole body is suffering. Even if you try to ignore that part of your body, it still hurts, and so do you. We're in this together, whether we like it or not.
The first world is depressed because the third world is oppressed. When we love the poor, we love a part of our own body. The Lord promises: "Happy is he who has regard for the lowly and the poor; in the day of misfortune the Lord will deliver him. The Lord will keep and preserve him; He will make him happy on the earth, and not give him over to the will of his enemies. The Lord will help him on his sickbed, He will take away all his ailment when he is ill" (Ps 41:2-4).
Prayer: Father, may I lavishly give to the poor (Ps 112:9).
Promise: Jesus "told them in reply, 'My mother and My brothers are those who hear the word of God and act upon it.' " —Lk 8:21
Praise: Sts. Cosmas & Damian did not shut their ears to the cry of the needy but helped them physically and spiritually.
Reference: (For a related teaching, order our tape Beatitudes on audio AV 44-3 or video V-44.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 26, 2006
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