Living the Gospel through concrete action and community solidarity

On the solemnity of our missionary service, we are faced with an invitation renewed by Pope Francis, a call that resounds with the force of a Gospel mandate: “Do not turn your gaze away from the poor” (Tb 4:7). These words, taken from the book of Tobias, are not just a warning, but a compass that orients our mission towards the very essence of the Gospel.

In his presentation for the 7th World Day of the Poor, the Holy Father reminds us that the poor are not figures in an annual report; they are faces, stories, beating hearts and yearning souls. “The World Day of the Poor, a fruitful sign of the Father’s mercy, comes for the seventh time to sustain the journey of our communities.” They are our brothers and sisters, and as such, they deserve more than our prayers: they deserve our presence, our time, our sharing.

As Vincentian missionaries, we are called to embody this message, to be living witnesses of Christ’s love for the poor. We are invited to look beyond the surface of material needs and recognise the inherent dignity of each person, an echo of the divine that cannot be ignored.

The pastoral proposals outlined in the pastoral aid are a beacon for our action. They are simple but profoundly meaningful gestures that can transform everyday life into a journey of active faith:

Prayer and Vigil

Prayer is the driving force behind our service. A prayer vigil on the eve of World Day of the Poor can unite community members in a common intention, strengthening our commitment to those less fortunate.

Liturgy and Witness

The Eucharistic celebration is the culmination of our faith. “How significant it would be if, on the Day of the Poor, this concern of Tobi’s were also ours! Invite us to share Sunday lunch, after sharing the Eucharistic Table.” Inviting the poor to actively participate in the liturgy, either as readers or as bearers of the offerings, is a tangible sign of their inclusion in the community of faith.

Charitable Action

Sharing the Sunday meal with the poor, visiting the sick and lonely, offering support to young people in need are all actions that embody evangelical charity. “For let us not forget that Tobi lost his sight precisely after performing an act of mercy.”  Every gesture of help and comfort is a reflection of God’s love.

Education and Formation

A special catechesis for young people, inviting them to recognise and serve the poor in their daily lives, plants the seeds for an even more compassionate and committed Church of the future. “We cannot look away, for we would prevent ourselves from meeting the face of the Lord Jesus.”

As Vincentian missionaries, we are already deeply immersed in these practices. However, the Pope’s message calls us to a renewal of spirit and action. It is an invitation to look once again, and with greater attention, towards the poor among us, to recognise Christ in them and to serve him wholeheartedly.

On this journey towards the Jubilee of 2025, may we see every act of kindness and every moment of sharing as a step towards a more living Church and a more just world. May the Holy Spirit guide and inspire us, so that we can truly be “Pilgrims of Hope” in a world that yearns for the light of the Risen One.