My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,


The world is afflicted by poverty, both material
and spiritual.

Poverty and those inflicted by it have existed for centuries. The poor have suffered not only from the deprivation of the most essential goods needed to live but also from exploitation, abuse, cruelty, slavery, and injustice. Poverty is a lack of food, shelter, and everything good. Poverty is being sick and unable to see a doctor. Poverty is never having an opportunity to go to school. Poverty is ns not knowing how to read or write. Poverty is clothes that don’t fit or having to dress in rags. Poverty is a person not having a job and a family without a home. Poverty is not having freedom or basic human rights and opportunities. Poverty is not having a future. Poverty marginalizes, suffocates, and eventually kills. Poverty is a person without hope. Poverty is a suffering soul. Poverty is seeing your child dying and not having the means to save him or her. Poverty is hearing your children crying from hunger, cold, or thirst and not being able to provide them with the necessities of life. Poverty is for you and your family to be homeless…

There may be as many as a billion people throughout the world who fall into this category. Governments of various counties have made some efforts to curtail poverty but have not been successful to eradicate it. One can find poor in every country throughout the world. It is perplexing, however, that in the 21st century and with all the modern means that the world possesses that poverty is still one of the major issues for every country to confront. The U.S. has established the welfare system to deal with the poor and there may be as many as seventy million people who receive this aid.

Our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ is very forthright when it comes to aiding the poor. In the Gospel of Saint Matthew 25: 31-46, He speaks about “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy Angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats…Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: FOR I WAS HUNGRY AND YOU GAVE ME FOOD; I WAS THIRSTY AND YOU GAVE ME DRINK; I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU TOOK ME IN,’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in or naked and clothe You? O when did we see You seek, or in prison, and come to You? And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, INASMUCH AS YOU DID IT TO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE MY BRETHREN, YOU DID IT TO ME.” According to Saint Theophylact “by “the least brethren” He means all the poor. For every poor man is Christ’s brother for the very reason that Christ, too, spent His life in poverty…he who does not give alms is a robber, doing injustice to all those whom he could have helped but did not, they were without compassion, and for this reason, he and those like him shall go away into eternal punishment which never ends, but the righteous shall enter into eternal life.” Therefore, Our Lord states that those who are without compassion or mercy for their fellow man who is poor and suffers will not be saved.

But there is also another kind of poverty, the spiritual poverty which inflicts humanity. Spiritual poverty begins with those who lack faith and do not believe that there is God. Those who lack virtue but are engaged in evil. Those who are possessed by greed, power, and pride. Those who live in filthiness and refuse to repent. People who are filled with hatred, anger, and malice. Whose only goal in life is to possess wealth and whose only love is money. Men and women are entrenched in patterns of sin that become habitual. Often, darkness becomes imprinted in their souls and bodies, so that even their wills are bypassed and they sin automatically. People who reject any spiritual cleansing, genuine sorrow for their sins, and refuse confession and repentance. Human beings who have lost their true humanity, are cruel, selfish, arrogant, and vicious. They are devoid of love and therefore, they are not capable of either giving love or receiving it.

Spiritual poverty creates an environment of hostility and a world at war with itself. There is an absence of hope and the death of the soul. The answer to those who suffer due to their spiritual poverty is none other than to believe in the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. Saint Paul says it very plainly, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). “I have been crucified with Christ” means out sinful “passions and desires” have been crucified. This kind of crucifixion must be willingly and freely accepted, just as Christ freely accepted His death on the Cross. Just as living in the flesh involves the whole person, body, and soul, so living “in the faith” involves the whole person.

The holy Apostle James writes, “Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?” (James 2:5). Saint Paul exhorts us, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). The spiritually rich are those who live according to Christ and are obedient to His commandments. The “new man” (Col. 3:10) in Christ grows from one state of perfection to another, becoming “the image” of Christ and throughout remaining the image of “Him Who created him” (3:10). The objective of every genuine Christian is to strive to be rich in Christ, in virtue, in humility, in love, in compassion, in truth, and in holiness, in the grace of the Holy Spirit.

“Glory Be To God
All Things!
– Saint John Chrysostomos
+ + +

With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God

+ Father George

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