In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement. Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.
How much progress has been made in this area in so many parts of the world! How much has been done in these first years of the third millennium to raise people out of extreme poverty! I know that you share my conviction that much more still needs to be done, and that in times of crisis and economic hardship a spirit of global solidarity must not be lost. At the same time I would encourage you to keep in mind all those people around us who are trapped in a cycle of poverty. They too need to be given hope. The fight against poverty and hunger must be fought constantly and on many fronts, especially in its causes.
-Pope Francis, Sept. 25,
2015, to the US Congress
Today’s Gospel is one that many of us know by heart- words that can sound trite, as we live in a world that seems to grow colder and more distant by the day to the disadvantaged everywhere. There is so much poverty- in our world, our country and in our midst, that we can become unwittingly unaware and uncaring to those in our midst. Jesus expects us to unfailingly to reach out to those in our midst- to be the givers, the peacemakers, the compassionate ones, never counting the cost, or even imagining the glory that our acts of love may bring to us.
Dorothy Day is an extraordinary example of someone who lived the Beatitudes, to the point that at her funeral, Cardinal Terence Cooke noted that perhaps a saint lived in our midst, and behold, the day of her canonization draws near. She lived a life of extremes and was at times controversial, but her desire to love and serve the poor and marginalized was second to none.
I see that love and respect revealed in so many ways here- particularly through our own Harvest on Vine. What a rich blessing it is- for not just those in our midst, but for all of us- an opportunity to joyously live Jesus’s words.
God is calling us through the Beatitudes to not just appreciate but respond to the invitation to live humbly, show mercy, and respond generously. The needy wait- may we respond- anyway we can.