Focusing on poverty and sacrificing for the poor are the heart of the Gospel, not signs of communism, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.
Furthermore, if Christians don't dig deep and generously open up their wallets, they do not have "genuine faith," the pope said Tuesday during the Mass in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
But "poverty is precisely at the heart of the Gospel. If we were to remove poverty from the Gospel, people would understand nothing about Jesus' message," he said, according to Vatican Radio.
Being fully Christian means being rich in spirit, faith, the Word, wisdom and zeal -- things that Jesus has taught and offered all people, he said.
Focusing on poverty and sacrificing for the poor are the heart of the Gospel, not signs of communism, Pope Francis said at his morning Mass.Make sure, however, that this huge amount of "wealth in the heart" also impacts the wallet, he said, because "when the faith doesn't reach your pockets, it is not a genuine faith."
Pope Francis said the "theology of poverty" is based on the fact that Jesus -- in his divine richness -- became poor; he lowered himself and sacrificed himself to save humanity.
The beatitude "Blessed are the poor in spirit" means "letting oneself be enriched by the poverty of Christ and not wanting to be rich with those riches that are not from Christ," he said.
Christian giving goes beyond plain charity, which is good, but isn't the "Christian poverty" believers are called to embrace, he said. "Christian poverty is: I give to the poor what is mine, not the excess, but also what is necessary" for one's own well-being.
Pastor Peter Naylor, an Old Testament scholar, writes a chapter entitled, “The Church’s Mission: sent to ‘do justice’ in the world?” He examines Generous Justice in order to understand what Keller teaches about the mission of the church....
In Generous Justice Keller writes: “Jesus, in his incarnation, ‘moved in’ with the poor … In Proverbs we see God identifying with the poor symbolically. But in the incarnation and death of Jesus we see God identifying with the poor and marginal literally.” Naylor comments: “The Bible does not present the incarnation as moving in with the poor. Christ came into the world to save sinners … When Keller focuses on poverty and injustice, he distorts the incarnation and crucifixion, and takes us away from the purpose of both – which was to save sinners – and leads us into the byway of social transformation. He is leading us to concentrate on the wrong goal.”
But it was just yesterday on this program that I, your beloved host, just your average guy on the radio here, suggested that the pope's encyclical on climate change was nothing more than Marxism, nothing more than communism. Well, get this from the National Catholic Reporter. "Pope Francis: Concern for poor is a sign of the gospel. It's not communism." Now, I do not believe that Il Papa nor the Vatican are responding to me. I think they are responding to what they assume a lot of people are going to think about his encyclical....
But I've never heard it put this way. If Christians don't dig deep and generously open their wallets, they do not have genuine faith, and that's in quotes, genuine faith is in quotes. So people's faith in God, religious faith is now, according to the Vicar of Christ, directly related to how wide open their wallets are. Now, wait 'til you hear what opening up your wallet means. And I'm reading here from the National Catholic Reporter....
In other words, you can't just give your disposable income to charity. You have to give money that you yourself actually need, and until you give up what you need for yourself, you are not being charitable. That's what Il Papa is saying. Anybody can give disposable income. That's no big deal. You've gotta give up what you need. In other words, instead of paying the electric bill or buying whatever, that money needs to go to the poor. And if it doesn't, you're not genuine. Your faith isn't genuine.
In fact, he twists the beatitude about being poor. Scripture says:
"Poor in spirit", not poor in wealth. This is about those who recognize their spiritual poverty before the thrice Holy One of Israel and their need for forgiveness and salvation----NOT an attempt at buying one's way into Heaven or becoming poor to earn salvation. Let's not forget that this giving away of all your wealth to the poor is nothing more than indulgences and works righteousness, condemned wholly by God.