Monday of the Twenty-second Week in Ordinary Time
(I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Luke 4: 16-30)
After his election as pope, Jorge Bergoglio was beseeched by a fellow South American cardinal not to forget the poor. The new pope explained afterwards that he chose the name Francis, the poor little one, because he had every intention of assisting the poor. Today the world has to say that solidarity with the poor is the hallmark of Francis’ papacy. In this way he is much like Jesus in the Gospel of Luke.
Today we begin daily readings from the third gospel. Like political candidates often do when beginning a campaign, Jesus has returned to his home town to outline his purpose. He quotes the prophet Isaiah saying that the Holy Spirit has anointed him to “bring good news to the poor.” Jesus will fulfill this intention throughout the gospel. His solidarity to the poor is most beautifully in his observation at the Temple in Jerusalem. A poor widow has just put all she had in the Temple treasury. Like her, Jesus will sacrifice his life on the cross to redeem humans.
We must not forget the poor. They need what so many of us have in abundance – resources to live with dignity. Many of them have precisely what we need – a simple faith that looks to God for deliverance.