06/16/2015, 00.00
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Pope: Poverty, at the heart of the Gospel, is not an ideology

At Santa Marta Mass, Pope Francis speaks of the "theology of poverty", which is not being "communist". Christian poverty is to give the poor than necessary because "they enrich me." At the center is the "mystery" of Jesus who "humbled himself, humiliated himself, became poor to enrich us."

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "The poverty at the center of the Gospel; is not an ideology "; not to be confused with mere "charity"; it is a following "the mystery of Christ who humbled himself, humiliated himself, became poor to enrich us". These were the reflections of Pope Francis this morning during his homily at Mass in Santa Marta.

As in other occasions, the Pope said that if a bishop, a Christian, a nun talk about poverty, they cannot be accused of communism because Christian poverty has a specific quality, so if "I give something of mine to the poor ... then they, he enrich me ... ".

The pontiff was inspired by the first reading of today's Mass (2 Cor 8: 1-9), in which St. Paul exhorts the Corinthians to participate in the collection for the poor of Jerusalem.

The Pope said speaking to the Church of Corinth, St. Paul reveals their true wealth: "You are rich in everything, in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and love that we have taught you." Thus, "as you are rich in many thing, you must also be generous in charity”.

"If you have this great wealth in your heart, this great richness - zeal, charity, the Word of God, knowledge of God – allow this richness to reach your pockets. And this is a golden rule. When faith does not come with pockets, it is not a genuine faith. It is a golden rule here that Paul says: You are rich in many things, now, be generous in your work of charity".

The Pope then highlighted the link between poverty and wealth, of "juxtaposition", but also communication: "The Church of Jerusalem is poor, is in economic difficulty, but it is rich, because it has the treasure of the Gospel message. And this poor Church of Jerusalem, has enriched the Church of Corinth with the Gospel message: It  has given the richness of the Gospel. "

At the same time, "you ...  who you are rich economically and wealthy, with so many things, you were poor without the proclamation of the Gospel, but have enriched the Church of Jerusalem, spreading God's people ... From poverty comes wealth, it is mutual exchange ".

For Pope Francis, the foundation of the "theology of poverty" is this: "Jesus Christ was rich – from the richness of God – but he became poor .... being poor is letting ourselves be enriched by the poverty of Christ and not wanting to be rich by other means that are not those of Christ. "

"When we give aid to the poor - he added - we do works of Christian charity. This is good, it is human - the works of charity are good and human things - but this is not the Christian poverty that Paul wants, that Paul preaches. Christian poverty means giving of my possessions and not what is superfluous, even giving what I need, to the poor, because I know that he enriches me. And how do the poor enrich me? Because Jesus said that He is in poor ... Jesus is acting in me when I do that and Jesus acts in them to enrich me when I do this. "

"This - he concluded - is the theology of poverty. This is the poverty at the heart of the Gospel; it not an ideology. It is a mystery, the mystery of Christ who humbled himself, humiliated himself, became poor to enrich us. So it is understandable why the first of the Beatitudes is 'Blessed are the poor in spirit'. Being poor in spirit means travelling this path of the Lord: the poverty of the Lord, also, who lowered himself so much that he became 'bread' for us, in this sacrifice. He continues to lower himself in the history of the Church, in the memorial of his passion, in the memorial of his humiliation, in the memorial of his humbling himself, the memorial of his poverty, and in this 'bread' He enriches us".

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