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Jan 4, 2021

This is Bishop Michael Burbidge of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington. January is Poverty Awareness Month. While poverty has always been in our midst, perhaps we have never been so aware of that reality as we witnessed first-hand during the pandemic. Food banks became strained, people had trouble paying utility bills, some faced eviction, and those who never had to ask for assistance suddenly found themselves in long lines to secure groceries in order to feed their families. Sacred Scripture tells us: “stretch forth your hand to the poor (Sir 7:32). Pope Francis reminds us that our generosity should be one that “supports the weak, consoles the afflicted, relieves suffering, and restores dignity to those stripped of it.” This responsibility to serve our neighbor is essential to who we are as people of faith. For we all know that when we extend our hand to help the poor, we, in fact, serve the Lord himself, and grow rich in His sight.