Life in Christ
God blesses those who come to the aid of the poor and
rebukes those who turn away from them: “Give to him who begs
from you, do not refuse him who would borrow from you”; “you
received without pay, give without pay.”
It is by what they
have done for the poor that Jesus Christ will recognize his chosen
When “the poor have the good news preached to them,”
it is the sign of Christ’s presence.
“The Church’s love for the poor . . . is a part of her constant
tradition.” This love is inspired by the Gospel of the Beatitudes, of
the poverty of Jesus, and of his concern for the poor.
the poor is even one of the motives for the duty of working so as
to “be able to give to those in need.”
It extends not only to
material poverty but also to the many forms of cultural and relig
Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love
of riches or their selfish use:
Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that
are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your
garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted,
and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your
flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days.
Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields,
which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the
harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You
have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have
fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. You have con
demned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not
St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: “Not to enable
the poor to share in our goods is to steal from them and deprive
them of life. The goods we possess are not ours, but theirs.”
demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is
already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity”:
239 St. John Chrysostom,
Hom. in Lazaro
2, 5: PG 48, 992.
8 § 5.