The distress of Christ also expresses the cry of the poor. Who are the poor? We hear the cry of those left behind by society—of the handicapped, shunted to one side, out of sight and out of mind—of the faceless multitudes of refugees from war and famine. If God loves them so much how can this be happening to them? Generally, the wounds are inflicted by human beings. God has given freedom to even cold human hearts. God’s response to the cry of the poor is the love in the hearts of Jesus’ disciples, which is also given in freedom. We can please the Lord when we console his poor, when we give them hope of being loved. There can hardly be a ministry closer to the heart of Jesus.
People in need may very well want bread and ask for it. Deep inside what they most need is the love that gives them the bread. The poor do not live by bread alone any more than the rest of us do.
When you reach out through my heart and hands, Lord, you are both giver and receiver. You are in me and in each of my brothers and sisters. All sincere love has its source in you. Form my heart after your own.