Francis also highlighted three verbs used by King David, the author of psalm 34, which are "to cry," "to answer" and "to free."
Not only are Christians called to hear the cry of the poor, but they must also answer, he said, noting that God's answer to the poor is highlighted throughout salvation history.
"God's answer to the poor is always an intervention of salvation in order to heal the wounds of body and soul, restore justice and assist in beginning anew to live life with dignity," he said, adding that this response is also an appeal for believers to do the same.
The World Day of the Poor is "a small answer" which the entire Church gives to poor people throughout the world as a sign of solidarity and shared concern, he said, and stressed the importance of having a personal encounter with those in need.
"It is not delegated power of which the poor have need, but the personal involvement of as many hear their cry," he said, adding that "the concern of believers in their regards cannot be limited to a kind of assistance – as useful and as providential as this may be in the beginning – but requires a loving attentiveness which honours the person as such and seeks out his best interests."
Pope Francis also spoke of the need to free the poor from the causes of poverty, which are frequently rooted in "selfishness, pride, greed and injustice."
"These are evils as old as man himself, but also sins in which the innocents are caught up, leading to consequences on the social level which are dramatic," he said.
To help migrants escape pride and injustice, then, means to free them from "the snare of the fowler" and to "subtract them from the trap hidden on their path, in order that they might proceed expeditiously and look serenely upon life."
Like the poor blind man Bartimaeus from Mark's Gospel who was sitting on the side of the road begging when Jesus passed by, many poor people today are also sitting by the road waiting for someone to come and listen to their needs, Francis said.
"Unfortunately, often the opposite happens and the poor are reached by voices rebuking them and telling them to shut up and to put up."
These voices, the pope said, are "out of tune" and are guided by "a phobia of the poor, considered not only as destitute, but also as bearers of insecurity and instability, detached from the habits of daily life and, consequently, to be rejected and kept afar."
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By distancing oneself from the poor, one also distances oneself from God, he said, and urged greater solidarity on the part of Catholics through initiatives such as sharing a meal with the poor and needy.
Pope Francis closed his message saying it is often the poor who "undermine our indifference, which is the daughter of a vision of life which is too imminent and bound up with the present."
Only by becoming rich before God, putting material wealth in secondary place, can a person truly grow in humanity and become capable of sharing with others, he said, and urged both consecrated persons and laity to "make tangible the Church's response to the cry of the poor."
"The poor evangelize us, helping us to discover every day the beauty of the Gospel," he said. "Let us not waste this opportunity for grace."