Giving the Poor the Gift of Hope
Biblical and liturgical texts
From September 1 to the feast of St. Francis of Assisi, the Christians give thanks for the gift of creation and reflect on how they can protect it and transmit it to future generations. For Pope Francis, both are important in order to “hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor”.
LITURGICAL PRAYERS – THANKSGIVING FOR GOD’S GIFTS
Generous God, you give us everything we need for a good life. The beautiful world in which we live, the family and friends, the gifts of faith, hope and charity. Accept today our thanksgiving :
● For the beauty of the world in which we live – All: We bless you and praise you!
● For the diversity of species and the complexity of ecological systems – Refrain
● For the life that circulates, for death and new life in the cycle of the seasons – Refrain
● For the people we meet every day and with whom we are in contact by telephone and Internet Refrain
● For all those who have accompanied us on our journey of life and have led us to faith – Refrain
● For all those who encourage us and give us the hope that a more just world is possible – Refrain
● For family and friends and all those who carry us through their charity and make us perceive your love – Refrain
BIBLICAL TEXTS AND REFLECTIONS
Giving the poor bread and hope (Prov 22:1-2; 7-9.22)
A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Rich and poor have this in common: The Lord is the Maker of them all. […] The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Whoever sows injustice reaps calamity, and the rod they wield in fury will be broken. The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor. […] Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court!
These Proverbs of Israel’s popular wisdom direct our attention to the plight of the poor who live in poverty without help or hope. They blame the abuse of the wealth of creditors who take advantage of the misery of the indebted poor to get rich. The one who acts ethically and according to the heart of God invites the poor to his table and not only gives him bread but also restores his dignity.
Showing poor people respect and dignity (James 2:1-4)
My brothers and sisters, believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
Are we not continually tempted to prefer people with the social status we have or would like to have? Do we not easily lose sight of the people who are in misery and suffering and who remind us of the fragility of our own happiness? We often offer great hospitality to those who actually do not need it and rarely to those who would need it extremely? For James, it is the consequence of a divided heart. For our service to God can only be credible if we take care of widows and orphans and do not allow ourselves to be contaminated by the values of this world.
● Sheet prepared by Fr. Wolfgang Schonecke/ Netzwerk Afrika Deutschland: www.netzwerkafrika.de
● Source and other texts in English : www.ecocongregationscotland.org/materials/creation-time/
● Drawings : Sr. Johanna Senn CPS
● Translation into French : Fr. Alois Schmid
● Translation to English: Webmaster with the help of DeepL