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Why we help the homeless Print E-mail
By John Paul II   
Monday, 20 December 2010

Many passages in the Bible highlight the duty to help the homeless.
 
In the Old Testament, the Torah teaches that strangers and the homeless in general, inasmuch as they are exposed to all sorts of dangers, deserve special concern from the believer. Indeed, God clearly and repeatedly recommends hospitality and generosity toward the stranger (cf. Dt. 24:17-18, 10:18-19; Nm. 15:15, etc.), reminding Israel of how precarious its own existence had once been. Later, Jesus identified himself with the homeless: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mt. 25-35), and taught that charity toward those in this situation will be rewarded in heaven. The Lord's apostles urge the various communities which they had founded to show hospitality to one another as a sign of communion and the newness of their life in Christ.
 
It is from the love of God that Christians learn to help the needy and to share with them their own material and spiritual goods. Such concern not only provides those experiencing hardship with material help but also represents an opportunity for the spiritual growth of the giver, who finds in it an incentive to become detached from worldly goods. But there is a higher motivation which Christ indicated to us by his own example when he said: “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head” (Mt. 8:20). By these words the Lord wished to show his total openness to his heavenly Father, whose will he was determined to carry out without letting himself be hindered by the possession of worldly goods. For there is always a danger that earthly realities will take the place of God in the human heart.
 

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