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L'Osservatore Romano

Pope at Audience: Give Food, Drink to Needy … But Donations Don’t Replace You

Quotes Benedict XVI’s Caritas in Veritate “‘Feed the hungry’ Is an Ethical Imperative for Universal Church”

When we give to the needy, God’s mercy is present, Pope Francis says. Yet, he warns, don’t think solidarity campaigns and donations are enough, you must personally realize your responsibility….

The Pope stressed this today during his address at his weekly General Audience, in which he continued his catechesis on the theme of mercy as the Jubilee Year nears its end.  This week, Francis focused on the fact that among the works of mercy, is that of feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty.

Stressing that access to food and water is a universal right, he stressed that we need to personally respond to this urgent reality. The Holy Father recalled how often the media tells of those who are suffering from lack of food and water, with serious consequences particularly for children.

“Faced with some news and especially certain images, the public feels touched and responds occasionally with solidarity campaigns. The generous donations made this way, can help alleviate the suffering of so many.”

Charity, in forms of solidarity campaigns, donations, and so on, is important, but perhaps does not involve us directly enough, the Pope observed.

“But when, going down the street,” he explained, “we cross a person in need, or a poor man comes knocking at the door of our house, it is very different, because they are no longer in front of an image, but we are personally involved. There is no longer any distance between me and him or her.”

“In these cases, what is my reaction?” he asked those present to consider.

He told those present to ponder how often we say when praying the Our Father, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and yet we do not really focus on those words.

Every day, Francis lamented, many are starving, right next to abundance and waste.

Citing the Apostle James, he reminded those gathered that faith without works is dead, and that we cannot delegate our responsibility to help the starving and thirsty.

“This poor [person],” he urged those to realize, “needs me, my help, my word, my commitment.” He reminded them how Jesus instructs us to do so in Gospel.

If we offer the little we have, entrusting those in need to Jesus’ hands, and remain prayerful, the Jesuit Pope highlight, this can do great things.

Citing his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, in his Encyclical Caritas in Veritate, Francis quoted: “Feed the hungry (cf. Mt 25: 35, 37, 42) is an ethical imperative for the universal Church…It is necessary to cultivate a public conscience that considers food and access to water as universal rights of all human beings, without distinction or discrimination.”

The Holy Father concluded, stressing how we are to give food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, imitating the mercy of the Lord, who said ‘I am the bread of life’ and ‘He who is thirsty come to me.’

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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis': https://www.amazon.com/Other-Francis-Everything-They-about/dp/0852449348/

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