Jesus had just finished speaking when a Pharisee invited him to dine at his house. He went in and sat down at the table. The Pharisee saw this and was surprised that he had not first washed before the meal. But the Lord said to him, ‘Oh, you Pharisees! You clean the outside of cup and plate, while inside yourselves you are filled with extortion and wickedness. Fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside too? Instead, give alms from what you have and then indeed everything will be clean for you.’
Source: Jerusalem Bible
Catechism of the Catholic Church
LOVE FOR THE POOR
2443 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 ones. When “the poor have the good news preached to them,” it is the sign of Christ’s presence.
2444 “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. Love for 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 religious poverty.
2445 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 condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.
2446 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.” “The 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”:
When we attend to the needs of those in want, we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying a debt of justice.
2447 The works of mercy are charitable actions by which we come to the aid of our neighbor in his spiritual and bodily necessities. Instructing, advising, consoling, comforting are spiritual works of mercy, as are forgiving and bearing wrongs patiently. The corporal works of mercy consist especially in feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, and burying the dead. Among all these, giving alms to the poor is one of the chief witnesses to fraternal charity: it is also a work of justice pleasing to God:
He who has two coats, let him share with him who has none and he who has food must do likewise. But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, everything is clean for you. If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit?
2448 “In its various forms – material deprivation, unjust oppression, physical and psychological illness and death – human misery is the obvious sign of the inherited condition of frailty and need for salvation in which man finds himself as a consequence of original sin. This misery elicited the compassion of Christ the Savior, who willingly took it upon himself and identified himself with the least of his brethren. Hence, those who are oppressed by poverty are the object of a preferential love on the part of the Church which, since her origin and in spite of the failings of many of her members, has not ceased to work for their relief, defense, and liberation through numerous works of charity which remain indispensable always and everywhere.”
2449 Beginning with the Old Testament, all kinds of juridical measures (the jubilee year of forgiveness of debts, prohibition of loans at interest and the keeping of collateral, the obligation to tithe, the daily payment of the day-laborer, the right to glean vines and fields) answer the exhortation of Deuteronomy: “For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor in the land.'” Jesus makes these words his own: “The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” In so doing he does not soften the vehemence of former oracles against “buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals . . .,” but invites us to recognize his own presence in the poor who are his brethren:
When her mother reproached her for caring for the poor and the sick at home, St. Rose of Lima said to her: “When we serve the poor and the sick, we serve Jesus. We must not fail to help our neighbors, because in them we serve Jesus.
For the leader. Of David, the servant of the LORD, who sang to the LORD the words of this song after the LORD had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.
He said: I love you, LORD, my strength,
LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, My God, my rock of refuge, my shield, my saving horn, my stronghold!
Praised be the LORD, I exclaim! I have been delivered from my enemies.
The breakers of death surged round about me; the menacing floods terrified me.
The cords of Sheol tightened; the snares of death lay in wait for me.
In my distress I called out: LORD! I cried out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry to him reached his ears.
The earth rocked and shook; the foundations of the mountains trembled; they shook as his wrath flared up.
Smoke rose in his nostrils, a devouring fire poured from his mouth; it kindled coals into flame.
He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet.
Mounted on a cherub he flew, borne along on the wings of the wind.
He made darkness the cover about him; his canopy, heavy thunderheads.
Before him scudded his clouds, hail and lightning too.
The LORD thundered from heaven; the Most High made his voice resound.
He let fly his arrows and scattered them; shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.
Then the bed of the sea appeared; the world’s foundations lay bare, At the roar of the LORD, at the storming breath of his nostrils.
He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters.
He rescued me from my mighty enemy, from foes too powerful for me.
They attacked me on a day of distress, but the LORD came to my support.
He set me free in the open; he rescued me because he loves me.
The LORD acknowledged my righteousness, rewarded my clean hands.
For I kept the ways of the LORD; I was not disloyal to my God.
His laws were all before me, his decrees I did not cast aside.
I was honest toward him; I was on guard against sin.
So the LORD rewarded my righteousness, the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
Toward the faithful you are faithful; to the honest you are honest;
Toward the sincere, sincere; but to the perverse you are devious.
Humble people you save; haughty eyes you bring low.
You, LORD, give light to my lamp; my God brightens the darkness about me.
With you I can rush an armed band, with my God to help I can leap a wall.
God’s way is unerring; the LORD’S promise is tried and true; he is a shield for all who trust in him.
Truly, who is God except the LORD? Who but our God is the rock?
This God who girded me with might, kept my way unerring,
Who made my feet swift as a deer’s, set me safe on the heights,
Who trained my hands for war, my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.
You have given me your protecting shield; your right hand has upheld me; you stooped to make me great.
You gave me room to stride; my feet never stumbled.
I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till I destroyed them.
I struck them down; they could not rise; they fell dead at my feet.
You girded me with strength for war, subdued adversaries at my feet.
My foes you put to flight before me; those who hated me I destroyed.
They cried for help, but no one saved them; cried to the LORD but got no answer.
I ground them fine as dust in the wind; like mud in the streets I trampled them down.
You rescued me from the strife of peoples; you made me head over nations. A people I had not known became my slaves;
as soon as they heard of me they obeyed. Foreigners cringed before me;
their courage failed; they came trembling from their fortresses.
The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, my savior!
O God who granted me vindication, made peoples subject to me,
and preserved me from my enemies, Truly you have exalted me above my adversaries, from the violent you have rescued me.
Thus I will proclaim you, LORD, among the nations; I will sing the praises of your name.
You have given great victories to your king, and shown kindness to your anointed, to David and his posterity forever.
Source: The New American Bible
Ignatius of Antioch (ancient Greek: Ἰγνάτιος Ἀντιοχείας, Ignátios Antiokheías) (c. 35 – c. 107), also known as Ignatius Theophorus (Ιγνάτιος ὁ Θεοφόρος, Ignátios ho Theophóros, lit. “the God-bearing”), Ignatius Nurono (lit. “The fire-bearer”) was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of the later collection known as the Apostolic Fathers. His letters also serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. In speaking of the authority of the church, he was the first to use the phrase “catholic church” in writing, which is still in use to this day.
Ignatius converted to Christianity at a young age. Tradition identifies Ignatius, along with his friend Polycarp, as disciples of John the Apostle. Later in his life Ignatius was chosen to serve as a Bishop of Antioch; the fourth-century Church historian Eusebius writes that Ignatius succeeded Evodius. In an attempt to make his apostolic succession even more immediate, Theodoret of Cyrrhus claimed that St. Peter himself left directions that Ignatius be appointed to the episcopal see of Antioch.Ignatius called himself Theophorus (God Bearer). A tradition arose that he was one of the children whom Jesus took in his arms and blessed.
Ignatius’ own writings mention his arrest by the authorities and travel to Rome to face trial:
From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated.
— Ignatius to the Romans, 5.
During the journey to Rome, Ignatius and his entourage of soldiers made a number of stops in Asia Minor. Along the route Ignatius wrote six letters to the churches in the region and one to a fellow bishop, Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna. In his Chronicle, Eusebius gives the date of Ignatius’s death as AA 2124 (2124 years after Abraham), i.e. the 11th year of Trajan’s reign, AD 108. Although Ignatius himself wrote that he would be thrown to the beasts, “lions” are explicitly mentioned first in the fourth century by Jerome, and John Chrysostom is the first to allude to the Colosseum as the place of Ignatius’ martyrdom.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is observed on 20 December. The Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria places it on the 24th of the Coptic Month of Koiak (which is also the 24 day of the fourth month of Tahisas in the Synaxarium of The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church), corresponding in three years out of every four to 20 December in the Julian Calendar, which currently falls on 2 January of the Gregorian Calendar.