November 29, 2022

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must not underestimate the importance of embracing and assisting the poor, oppressed and outcast, Pope Francis said. Not only did Jesus entrust his disciples with the task of continuing his ministry on earth by giving hope to the poor, but “the credibility of our proclamation and the witness of Christians depends on it,” the pope said in a message for the World Day of the Poor. “Faced with countless throngs of the poor, Jesus was not afraid to identify with each of them” and tell his disciples “whatever you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did to me,” the pope said. “If we refuse to make this identification, we falsify the Gospel and water down God’s revelation,” he said. “If the disciples of the Lord Jesus wish to be genuine evangelizers, they must sow tangible seeds of hope,” he said in the message, released by the Vatican June 13, the feast of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of the poor. The World Day of the Poor—marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of ordinary time—will be celebrated Nov. 17 this year and, based on Psalm 9:19, will focus on “The hope of the poor shall not perish forever.”