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ARTICLES > ANSWERING THE CRY OF THE POOR

Homily of Msgr. Allen Aganon during the ANCOP Global Summit

TODAY, our readings providentially are pointing to our conference on answering the cry of the poor. The First Reading is about Paul’s fund-raising. He was not only preaching the Gospel of Jesus, he was trying to live what Jesus was telling us. We should not close our minds regarding the needs of the people.


Jerusalem was in great need at that time, so Paul patterned his teachings to allow people to be generous, to encourage them to help other brothers in the faith.


There were others who did not want to share their bounty with the community. And so Paul was telling them that our generosity, the principle of being generous, comes from God.


I think that is the first thing we should understand about ANCOP. We are doing this primarily because God is being generous to us. Whatever we have—material blessings, essentials, talents, time—everything comes from God. He gives to us generously.


That is why God is a prodigal God. He gives to us lavishly, without counting the cost. He is ever gracious to us. That was what Paul was telling the people when he was asking them to help, not just because people need it, but because he wanted them to be like Christ.


And so answering the cry of the poor, my dear brothers and sisters, is really a grace that emanates from the love of God. That is why our theme “Love More” means to really see beyond our needs. Despite having needs ourselves, we still have to look to others, to go another mile, as what Jesus said in scripture. Because that is who God is. Loving more is to be more identified with our Lord.


That is why we in ANCOP should try to be like Christ. The Gospel, on the other hand, is telling us what temptations we could face. When we are working with the poor and giving much of ourselves, there are times when we lose sight where these things come from. Our temptation when we do good works is to tell the people we help that everything is from us, forgetting that these provisions come from God.


The evil forces will not rest until they veer us away from our source, and the one who gives direction in life. While we are doing the work of God, the evil one will tell us, “This is not from God, it’s from you!”


As we do these good works, we should look to God, and the people will look through us and see God instead of us—that’s how things are supposed to be. When we cut ourselves from the source, people will no longer see God, they will see us.


And we will no longer see God, but we will only see ourselves. Then, the motivations change. We still do the work, we still help people, but no longer because of God.


The Gospel is very clear—we should always go back to the source, to always be connected to the One who is the source of everything that we have. We should always have these attitudes, my dear brothers and sisters, when we answer the cry of the poor.


First, humility. We have been called by God to participate in this holy work. We are not worthy, but God called us. That is what Paul always tells the community in Corinth—it is a chance for us, when someone poor is calling out for help, to participate in self-giving love. Because giving is natural, and will make us more human, more spiritual.


Secondly, when we participate in the self-giving love of God, we must always pray the prayer of gratitude. When we always thank God, whether for victories of failures, because it is a realization that everything we do is because of His grace, then whatever we do becomes holy.


And so, as we talk about and do our work with the poor, let us not lose our footing, to where we are rooted. If we do, this becomes our work, not God’s work anymore. Let us always remember that this is a call from God, the God who said, “I hear the cry of the poor, and I will answer them.” 

Added on Tuesday, July 7, 2015


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