Our response to the cry of the poor

Originally published on The Southern Cross

By Karla Perez, MTS

In the next few months, we will be addressing each of the seven goals proposed in the Vatican’s “Laudato Si” Action Platform. In this installment, we will address the second goal: our response to the cry of the poor.

In the encyclical “Fratelli Tutti,” Pope Francis speaks to us about the parable of the Good Samaritan. In this document, the pope breaks down the role of each of the members in this parable, expressed in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and invites us to reflect on our own role in history.

Being a Good Samaritan to All of Creation
We can also reflect on our role as “Good Samaritans” in our care for creation. God, in His immense love, has created everything that exists and places human beings in charge of all His creatures — our brothers and sisters and all living beings. Now, let’s reflect on our role with these siblings in the family of creation. Are we the ones who hurt these brothers and sisters with our ecological behavior? Or are we like the priest or the Levite who, despite being religious people, do not stop on the way to help the needy?  In Lenten preparation for Easter, we invite you to act like the Good Samaritan, who gave his time and resources to help someone in need.

Stop and contemplate who the poor, the needy, and the wounded are, and with the love that comes from God, reflect on what actions you can change to stop hurting others and what actions you can take to respond to the cry of our sisters and brothers in need.

Suggested Actions
The “Laudato Si” Action Platform (www.laudatosiactionplatform.org) proposes some ecological actions that can guide us to act in our response to the cry of the poor—our brothers and sisters in need:

  • Ensure community members have free and open access to green spaces.
  • Ensure that children are protected from air pollution in the places where they play and study.
  • Reflect on the challenges caused by the failure of social systems and who may be most vulnerable.
  • Support programs that address immediate and short-term needs.
  • Engage elders to promote awareness of collective practices that have helped overcome community challenges.
  • Promote initiatives that use existing resources to serve the general public.
  • Hold days of social or ecological action.
  • Develop educational activities to promote the defense of human life from conception to natural death.
  • Support an anti-human trafficking campaign.
  • Ensure community members have free access to safe drinking water.

Following Christ’s Example
You can be creative, and look for ways to help those in need, both near and far. What is important is that as Christians, we should not be indifferent or fail to act for fear of being unpopular. We should follow Christ’s pathway, doing everything out of love because everything created is a gift of God, and should be valued and protected.

Karla Perez is a recent graduate of the Franciscan School of Theology.