‘The poor are our family’ – priest

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MANILA, Dec. 17, 2014 — The Year of the Poor should remind every believer that he is responsible for his poor brothers and sisters, who are all part of God’s family, said a priest during a recent reflection.

“Everyone is part of one big family,” said Fr. Jojo Alisbo, parish priest of St. Gabriel in Pililia, Rizal.

He stressed that the poor are “our responsibility” and it is not enough to be simply aware that they exist.

The Year of the Poor recognizes not just material poverty, but emotional, psychological and spiritual poverty. (Photo: CBCP News)

Not just poverty awareness

According to the priest, the Church’s celebration of the Year of the Poor should remind everyone of his commitment to battle hunger, homelessness, sickness and other forms of poverty.

The realization that a segment of society has less in life does not resolve, Alisbo said.

“There is a challenge,” he pointed out. “We have to address it to give our poor brethren dignity.”

The question is who are going to respond Alisbo said.

“Those who have time, talent, and treasure,” he said. “And every one of us has the three.”

Lack of compassion

That is the genuine appreciation of the realization that some fellow believers are not as fortunate as others, Alisbo added.

People suffering from poverty also suffer from the feeling that their brothers who are relatively prosperous do not care about them, he said.

“Their mind and heart also suffer, unable to appreciate their dignity – the importance of being human,” he said. “We have to make them feel that they have dignity.”

The poor should feel the Church is there for them, Alisbo said.

The Year of the Poor should also embrace believers who are poor in spirit and in relationships, he said.

“When we say ‘Year of the Poor’, most of the time, we think of people who are financially poor,” Alisbo said. “Year of the Poor is love of God, which is for all, regardless of one’s economic status.”

The emphasis of the year-round observance is “actually love” – a love that does not specially favor one over another, but treats all believers equally, he said.

All are equally poor and helpless before God, he noted. With this helplessness, people need God.

“We need his mercy and compassion,” he noted. (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)

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