One of the most moving moments of Pope Benedict’s visit was when he visited St Peter’s Residence (the home for the elderly) in London, which is run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. In doing this the Holy Father communicated through his actions the centrality of loving service in Christian life.
Scripture teaches us that without service and love of the poor, Christians are but clashing symbols, their words are empty. Catholic Social Teaching and our practical response to it are central to the mission of the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict repeatedly emphasised solidarity with and service of the poor, that the Church exists to serve.
Life is busy and if you’ve a family, a mortgage and a job, it can be very hard to find time for anything or anyone else. The Gospel invites and the Holy Spirit motivates us to be attentive to those in most need. The Holy Father spoke about this clearly and similar sentiments were shared by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, at the departure airport: The Pope’s message "...is a challenge to us all to follow our conscience to ask not what are my entitlements, but what are my responsibilities? To ask not what we can do for ourselves, but what we can do for others?... For many, faith is a spur to action. It shapes their beliefs and behaviour; and it gives them a sense of purpose... Crucially, it is their faith that inspires them to help others." (19 September 2010).
So it must be in our lives. It is important to reflect for a moment on our practical response to these words.
"You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength... You must love your neighbour as yourself."
Mark 12: 30 - 31