The Archbishop of Mexico City, Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, said this week that “almsgiving helps us unmask the idolatry of money” and “reminds us that we are only administrators and not owners of what we have.”
During his Sunday homily, the cardinal said almsgiving teaches people to be humble when it is not practiced it in an “arrogant or showy way,” adding that “it purifies us and opens us to God.”
“The poor, for us Christian disciples of Jesus, cannot be only statistics or diagnostics, no matter how harsh or alarming or necessary they may be,” Cardinal Rivera said, exhorting the faithful to receive the call of Pope Benedict XVI to “be converted to God by serving the poor and bringing back the meaning of almsgiving.”
After noting that the fifth Sunday of Lent is charity Sunday, the cardinal stressed that “an attitude of conversion towards the poor manifested in concrete choices and gestures is needed.” Otherwise, “our option for the poor runs the risk of being simply theoretical or emotional.”
“We are asked, therefore, to dedicate time to the poor, to be kind to them, to listen attentively to them, seeing them as friends with whom we can spend hours, weeks or years of our lives, and seeking with them the transformation of their situations,” he emphasized.
Cardinal Rivera said the Church’s option for the poor is made concrete through the organization Caritas, adding that “in its most Christian and ‘baptismal’ sense, we are all Caritas,” as “we all are the Church as Samaritan and servant of the poor.”
“May our collaboration with Caritas, through our almsgiving, also be the expression today of our Lenten conversion, of our journey towards Easter,” he said in conclusion.