Memory of the Church

Ossza Meg


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

James 2,1-9

My brothers, do not let class distinction enter into your faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, well-dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, 'Come this way to the best seats'; then you tell the poor man, 'Stand over there' or 'You can sit on the floor by my foot-rest.' In making this distinction among yourselves have you not used a corrupt standard? Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who were poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. You, on the other hand, have dishonoured the poor. Is it not the rich who lord it over you? Are not they the ones who drag you into court, who insult the honourable name which has been pronounced over you? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme Law of scripture: you will love your neighbour as yourself; but as soon as you make class distinctions, you are committing sin and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

It can become normal for the Christian community to follow the style of this world: to honour the rich and to despise the poor. In our contemporary world, the poor are not held in any regard and are easily completely forgotten or even despised. Pope Francis never ceases to remind us of the scandal of what he calls the "culture of waste," which removes the poor from the table of life without a second thought. And not only do we not help the poor, we also defend ourselves from them. The difficulties and problems of our societies are often blamed on them. It happens across the world when we forget to consider the struggle to eradicate poverty. It is not fashionable to talk about the poor, partially because doing demands a less egocentric view of life and society. The race to one's own interests hardens hearts and makes society more cruel, especially with the weakest. The Letter of James reminds us that God acts exactly the opposite way. He chooses to make the poor of this world rich and heirs to his kingdom. James's example of reserving places of honour for the poor during celebrations is not focused so much on the physical place to be assigned to them as on what the believer must be in the heart and therefore the concern of the believer. The poor must have privileged attention in the Christian community because this is how God acts. Moreover, James points out the ease with which the poor are oppressed and exploited. Not defending them is like blaspheming the very name of God, who chose them as his favourite children to the point of identifying with them, as we read in the Gospel of Matthew: "just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me" (Mt 25:40). The poor, welcomed into the family of God, are the little brothers of Jesus and are therefore familiar to Christians: they have entered the very heart of the Church. They must therefore be loved as brothers and sisters. In them we meet Jesus.