Theologically and philosophically we all know (or at least have heard) that we are to love the poor. It has been at the heart of Jewish and Christian teaching since the beginning. As Jesus told the Rich Young Ruler, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But loving the poor can become a real test for our most inner motives. Tim Otto has written a very honest response to this issue, “I got into nursing in my early twenties, when a mentor taught me that God has a special love for the poor and challenged me to embrace a simple corollary: we should too. Energized by this call, I initially tried to love the poor by working at a free legal clinic for immigrants and as a teacher of English for World Relief. I traveled around Central America for nine months and studied Spanish.
Through those experiences, I learned this about myself: I love the image of me loving the poor – I don’t love the poor.”
“But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Jesus