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In an earlier post- What did Jesus really teach?  Fr. Richard Rohr explores the non-negotiables  based on the teachings of Jesus which he argues include: Peacemaking/ Love of Enemy/ Forgiveness/ Justice and Generosity to the poor/ A community based on inclusion of all not exclusion.

Here is the next in our series on What did Jesus really teach about: Justice and Generosity to the poor.

I have a good friend who is a deacon and this is a topic we end up discussing. As deacons we often have to go to “church meetings” on various topics. My friend told me of a bishop he knew of who started every meeting he attended with one question- “How will our time together today help the poor?”

Jesus seems to make it pretty clear where are focus needs to be in his story about the end times in Matthew 25:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,  I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”

Here is an excerpt from a blog post from the US Catholic Bishops on Pope Benedict’s first encyclical  Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) on this subject.

Pope Benedict XVI clearly puts care for the poor at the heart of the Catholic Church. In his first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), he said three things make the Church the Church: Proclaiming the Gospel, celebrating the Sacraments and caring for the poor. This love of the poor is an essential and defining activity of the Church. Benedict declares, “Love for widows and orphans, prisoners, and the sick and needy of every kind is as essential to her [the Church] as the ministry of the sacraments and preaching of the Gospel. The church cannot neglect the service of charity anymore than she can neglect the sacraments and the word” (#22).

This emphatic call is an extension of the great commandment to love our neighbor. In fact, Pope Benedict insists: “Love of God and love of neighbor have become one: In the least of the brethren we find Jesus himself, and in Jesus we find God.”  And, our neighbor is anyone who needs our help and whom we can help (#15).  In this encyclical, the pope states that today loving our neighbor has global dimensions since we see and respond to people’s struggles and needs almost instantaneously .(#30).

How do you think we are doing as a church on this non-negotiable?


Fr. Richard Rohr’s website at: www.cacradicalgrace.org

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