“The important thing is not looking at them from afar, or helping from afar. No, no! It is going to encounter them. This is the Christian! This is what Jesus taught: to go meet the most needy.” These are the words of Pope Francis to his fellow Argentinians as he paid them a visit on the feast day of St. Gaetano.
The message of the Pope focused on “encountering and touching the poor, rather than helping them in a distant way.” I find this message to be a much needed reminder for all of us who might be holding the belief that it doesn’t really matter how we give so long as we are giving. The focus should be on giving more to those in need, and I don’t mean more things.
As Christians we should approach the act of charity as Jesus did. He did not just “throw alms and leave.” He always made sure to go out there, meet people, touch them and then help them by giving them what they needed. When we give without meeting, we are just giving something perishable–something that will no longer be there in the next day or two. When we give with a handshake, a hug, a short conversation and a prayer, we are giving them comfort, love and a sense of importance–things that linger on much longer.
If you want to read more about the Pope’s message during the celebration of St. Gaetano’s feast day, you can read it here: “Touch the poor and needy, Pope tells Argentineans.” Giving more to those in need is something that Pope Francis advocates, and I think this is great.