We are not only sharing part of our wealth with the poor, but we are also receiving something from them. In a true Christian community, there are no members who are just giving, and others who are just receiving. There are only neighbors who share because in Christ we are all one.
The hand we outstretch to the poor is not only a hand that distributes but also a hand in need. We need the poor as much as they need us. They challenge us to become increasingly truer witnesses of Christ. When we encounter the poor, listen to them and accompany them, it is they who evangelize us. The poor invite us to open our hearts and to transform our narrow, worldly view to see Christ in their presence here on earth.
“We are called to find Christ in them, to lend our voice to their causes, but also to be their friends, to listen to them, to speak for them, and to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to share with us through them.” Evangelii Gaudium.
Caritas Internationalis president, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, has said, “The big lesson of my life as a pastor has been to go towards the poor, not bearing words, but with a heart ready to listen to and learn from them. Before saying even one single word, it’s important to understand the person who is in front of you. By respectfully listening to the poor, you affirm their dignity.”