Help, Do not Close Your Ear to the Cry of the Poor

“And as he sat at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples.” (Matthew 9:10)

Although our first reading today contains a lot of striking proverbial sayings, one that strikes a chord profoundly is: “He who closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself cry out and not be heard.” As Jesus teaches us: “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12).

It is precisely what we give out that we receive. The help we render to others comes back in different ways. Even the good thoughts we have towards others and the prayers we say for them come back as blessings for us. “Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” (Luke 6:38)

No one has it all; one man’s waste is another man’s treasure. While some walk long distances just to find food, others are forced by their doctors to walk long distances just to lose weight and keep fit. We are all poor in one way or another. Once we are able to come to terms with our own poverty, we are then able to understand with and sympathize with the poverty of others.

One musician sang: “Lean on me when you are not strong because I am going to need somebody to lean on tomorrow.” I think God allows calamity (pain or loss) in our lives sometimes just so that when we come out of it, we are able to understand with and strengthen those who are down.

It is good to play ‘Angel’ at times: Go out of your way to help people in very critical situations and then disappear. It is good deeds like these that actually make us Christians. In our Gospel passage, we hear Jesus saying: “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” This means it is by acting on God’s word that we become engrafted into the family of Jesus. By our deeds of righteousness, we become blood relations of Jesus.

Quite sadly, there are too many persons today who are into the professional business of telling lies to deceive unsuspecting Christians who genuinely desire to help the poor. This has often made many develop a “heart of stone” with regards to giving. Someone once came to my office crying profusely for money to buy blood saying that his wife is about to die in the hospital. I quickly left everything I was doing and told him to hop into my car so we can go to the hospital. As we were on the way to the so-called hospital, he started begging that I drop him off and give him transport money. Recently a lady texted me needing help. My account balance was less than five thousand naira and I was looking for a way to ask my friends for help. The next day she sent a text message that completely contradicted her previous story so I asked her to just say the truth only for her to reply with insults.

You may have a thousand reasons for not helping someone or even anybody at all but if you can verify that one is truly in need of help and you are capable of helping, please do not allow the negative experiences of fraudsters (agents of darkness) prevent you from rendering help.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, help me live in a manner that truly represents me as a member of your family. Amen.Bible Study: Proverbs 21:1-13, Psalm 119:1-44 & Luke 8:19-21)

Fr. Abu

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