Clarion call to help the poor | Sunday Observer

Clarion call to help the poor

29 November, 2020

As the global pandemic has pushed a large number of people into extreme poverty and the world expected to be poorer, a clarion call has been made to ‘Stretch forth your hand to the poor’ which is theme of this year’s ‘World Day of the Poor’, an observance of the Catholic Church since 2017. It is estimated that one in six children living in extreme poverty will struggle to survive.

Mid this year the World Bank estimated that the pandemic will push 100 million people into extreme poverty this year increasing global poverty rates for the first time in decades. Over 200 million people are believed to have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic.  The poverty levels are expected to rise in Sri Lanka to around 13 percent, up from 8.9 percent in 2019 which implies around 890,000 more people will be poor and many of them would be from the poorest regions in the country.

Marking the World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis said the pandemic arrived suddenly and caught us unprepared, sparking a powerful sense of bewilderment and helplessness.

This has made us all the more aware of the presence of the poor in our midst and their need for help.The Pope called upon the world particularly Christians to take risks to help the millions of people worldwide who live below the poverty line.

“Do not forget: the poor are at the center of the Gospel; the Gospel cannot be understood without the poor,” he said, adding, “The poor guarantee us an eternal income and even now they help us become rich in love. For the worst kind of poverty needing to be combated is our poverty of love.” 

The global pandemic restrictions forced the Vatican to scale down this year’s commemoration of the World Day of the Poor.

The Holy Father could not host a lunch for poor inhabitants of Rome after Mass as he had in previous years. 

Elaborating on the  ‘Parable of the Talents’ in which a master entrusts talents to his servants Pope Francis said one talent was equivalent to the income from 20 years’ work.

The Pope said that at the center of the parable was the question of service.

Good servants are those who take risks.

They are not fearful and overcautious, they do not cling to what they possess, but put it to good use. For, if goodness is not invested, it is lost, and the grandeur of our lives is not measured by how much we save but by the fruit we bear.