Helping The Poor

by jpserrano on August 21, 2013 · 0 comments

“It is folly, it is madness, to fill our wardrobes full of clothes and to regard with indifference a human being, a being made in the image and likeness of God, who is naked, trembling with cold and almost unable to stand.

You say: ‘But that fellow there is pretending to tremble and not to have any strength.” So what? If that poor fellow is putting it on, he is doing it because he is trapped between his own wretchedness and your cruelty. Yes, you are cruel and guilty of inhumanity. You would not have opened your heart to his destitution without his play-acting.

If it were not necessity compelling him, why should he behave in such a humiliating way just to get a bit of bread?

The made-up tale of a beggar is evidence of your inhumanity. His prayers, his begging, his complaints, his tears, his wandering the all day long round the city did not secure for him the smallest amount to live on. That perhaps is the reason why he thought of acting a part. But the shame and the blame for his made-up tale falls less on him than on you.

He has in fact a right to be pitied, finding himself in such an abyss of destitution. You, on the other hand, deserve a thousand punishments for having brought him to such humiliation.”

St. John Chrysostom (ca. 400) from his homily “On the First Letter to the Corinthians” [21:5]
H/T Steve Sabin

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