Material poverty is one of our fears as a human person that breeds criminality, insurgence and terrorism. It hurts the feeling of our Father because of this fear we go away from the love that He is giving us. For us to be able to live our life in accordance with God’s plan we are to fast not just in terms of food or not spending but having an empathetic heart for us to live simply in all aspects. This involves seeing Jesus to the poor by spending time with our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Having the opportunity to partake in their daily lives. This is for us to have an opportunity to love purely. As a full-time missionary, this was my struggle because of how we evangelize. It is selective to the point where we talk or share Jesus to the ones we are comfortable with or to the people who look nice to our eyes. We do have this activity Evangelization Sensitivity like to talk and share God’s love to our less fortunate brothers and sisters but it only happens once a year. Just once a year, what a loving reminder from the Lord to me that I am the one who is poor because I can’t even share this with them.
As a full-time missionary, I am also helping out in our family business. There was a time where I was given an opportunity to spend time with our employees for a week (blue-collar job workers). And I saw and realized that they are only happy in one thing: They enjoy their life because they live their life simply. Their daily routine was waking up – eat – work – eat – talk to their loved ones – sleep – repeat. That’s how they do their task daily. And when the weekend comes it is payroll day. They are very excited because they are able to send this to their loved ones, especially to those families who are living in the provinces. They are happy because they have provided for what their family needs. And they were left with a little amount of money just to augment their daily needs. Then I realized, they have a little yet they are happy? It took me a while to realize and to ponder this because I’m not used to this stuff. They are not poor materially but I see myself poor materially because I fear losing things. But they do not fear that. They only have hope that every weekend they will receive a blessing then they are able to share it with their loved ones.
These are the things that I realize in this encounter: (1) God provides for the poor. Yes, maybe we don’t see this but God gives exactly what we need. But we often neglect it. We fail to appreciate it. We only like grand things. (2) God raises up the poor. God allows them to see that there is hope despite any situation. They always see that there is light in the darkness. I realize that this is something we don’t see. Despite nothingness there is still hope. (3) God is for the poor. He is with us always. The only rich ones are the one who are in heaven because they find joy being with the Lord. Their riches are in heaven. All of us are poor one way or the other but the beautiful thing there is that God is always for us.
How can we respond to God’s call to love the poor? First, we are able to commit to having true generosity. Not giving what is surplus but giving on what you have. Because if we give and it hurts, then we are able to give without counting the cost. Second is treating the poor with dignity. We recognize them as full productive members of the society. It eliminates hierarchy and equality comes in. Third is when we empathize with the poor. We feel, mourn, journey and rejoice with them. That is true love for the poor.
Poverty is not a status symbol but it is a mindset. If we are able to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, we’ve allowed God to bridge the gap into our hearts and to the people who need God. Then one day all of us will possess the land, and will delight in great prosperity because we have God in our life. Amen!
Mac De Leon is a FTW for MFC Youth. He is currently the area servant of NCR North as well as the MFC Youth CAMPUS coordinator.