My Dear Brothers, Sisters and Well Wishers of Guatemala Mission,
I greet you in the name of our Lord Jesus at the beginning of this God-given new Pastoral Year.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits.” – (Psalm 131: 1-2)
Lord I thank you for your loving care in times of our need especially during covid 19 corona virus pandemic and for all the blessings that you showered upon us all throughout the year 2020.
This year too, we would like to focus our attention on the poverty that exists among us and look out for various ways and means by which we can be of more relevant help to the poor and the needy around us.
“Happy are those who consider the poor; the Lord delivers them in the day of trouble. The Lord protects them and keeps them alive; they are called happy in the land.” – (psalm 41: 1 - 2)
THE PREFERENTIAL LOVE OF JESUS FOR THE POOR:
Jesus dedicated his whole life for the kingdom of God, which, in the first place, is Good News to the poor and, therefore, their complete liberation. Having become poor himself, Jesus defended the poor and the marginalized till his death. He welcomed sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers, the blind, the deaf, the lame, the impure, those possessed by the devil, the strangers, the poor, the lowly and all those living in the periphery.
Jesus’ mission of healing and deliverance signifies the victory of the kingdom of God over evil powers. His deeds of forgiveness and his dining with sinners proclaim the special love of God towards the lowly and puts an end to social ostracism. Jesus’ mission of healing and deliverance signifies the victory of the kingdom of God over evil powers. His deeds of forgiveness and his dining with sinners proclaim the special love of God towards the lowly.
The Lord Jesus took his option for the poor to a new height when he declared, “whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do it unto me” - Mt. 25: 40. Jesus, the living God who is with and in the poor, calls out to us. “In the poor, Jesus knocks on the doors of our heart, thirsting for our love. When we overcome our indifference and, in the name of Jesus, we give of ourselves for the least of his brethren, we are his good and faithful friends, with whom he loves to dwell”
His holiness Pope Francis says:
“In the poor and outcast we see Christ’s face; by loving and helping the poor, we love and serve Christ.”
CHRIST- CENTRED OPTION FOR THE POOR:
Our option for the poor is the fruit of our Christian faith. Jesus calls us unceasingly for a revolution of tenderness and universal solidarity. We need to adopt “a new mindset which thinks in terms of community and the priority of the life of all over the appropriation of goods by a few.” Solidarity means a strong and resolute willingness to service for the common good and more preferably for the good of the poor.
Without love for the poor there is no love of God, there is no salvation of God. “There is a saving power in their weakness… they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our passport to paradise. Therefore, Let us earnestly ask our heavenly Father for this gift.
St. Mother Theresa said, “God has identified himself with the hungry, the sick, the naked, the homeless; hunger not only for bread, but for love, for care, to be somebody to someone; nakedness, not for clothing only, but nakedness of that compassion that very few people give to the unknown; homelessness, not only just for a shelter made from stone but for that homelessness that comes from having no one to call your own.”
St. Vincent de Paul quotes:
“All those who love the poor in life, will have nothing to fear from death.”
My beloved brothers and sisters, as we have reflected above, in order to bear a vibrant witness to our Christian faith, we need to wholeheartedly work for the poor, since service to the poor is not accidental, but essential to our faith. Let us give a special place in our hearts to those who are ostracized and marginalized. Let our concern reach out to the poor and the needy through our various pastoral activities.
“All of us should witness to this option for the poor, first and foremost, in our personal lifestyle, social dealings and in our institutions”
May the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Heavenly Mother, and St. Joseph accompany us as we carry forward our plan for this Pastoral Year 2021.
I pray that the blessing of our Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit may come upon you and I wish all of you a grace-filled new Pastoral Year.
Rev. Bishop. Joseph F. Catrambone., M.Div., D.D.
(Executive Director, Founder of Guatemala Mission).