By Fr. Alex Radulescu – Today, we go to the book of Proverbs. This is like a “manual of life” filled with snippets of wisdom collected over the years, most of them attributed to King Solomon. I encourage you to find time and read this book. You will be surprised how universal and timeless is the advice you find there.
Let’s focus on the Proverbs 14:32 “He who oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is kind to the needy honors him.”
Why would God be offended if we overlook the poor? And how do we honor God by showing mercy to them? Why is our relationship with God so dependent on our relationship with one another and especially with the poor? It’s nice to know that God loves everybody but why do I have to care for others? God can take care of them without my help.
Well, here is the deal: God created us to be like a family, a community of love reflecting its Creator. We can’t escape one another. He wants us to act like a family, even if we may not like the stinky brother or the mean cousin. We need to look at all people as our brothers and sisters. We need to make it work. We are all God’s children. We need to help each other.
In Matthew 25:31-46 we learn about what matters on the day of our judgement. The Lord will divide those who have done good from those who have done evil. He will say to those who have done good: “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; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me” (vv. 34-36). And those who have done all these things will marvel at this statement, since they have not actually done these things for God but for people. And the response will be as such: “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me” (v. 40).
God wants us to have healthy relationships just like any parent would expect from their children. When we act with love, we reflect His character and obey His divine command to become like Him. Don’t we all want our children to reflect our principles and be good? My parents used to tell me all the time before going to school: “be good and don’t embarrass us.” I wanted to represent them well and still do.
Friends, during this time when so many people are in need of assistance, let us focus not only on the relationship with our immediate family but also on the relationship with those afar who need help, food, medication, blood donations, money, a bag of groceries, a phone call or whatever we can do safely, from the distance.
Christ called us to “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn. 13:34). When we act like Him, we bring Him joy and honor Him. Amen.