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Our Church of St. Thomas, the Apostle in Kuantan, is hosting a Family Day celebration cum 7th World Day of the Poor for the second time, in the East Coast on Sunday, 19 November 2023. This event is a way for us to show respect and welcome the most vulnerable families and friends from our vicinities. This year, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has chosen a theme: “Do Not Turn Your Face Away From Anyone Who Is Poor” (Tobit 4:7). We hope to bring these individuals and families together for a joyful celebration, while also raising awareness about the daily struggles they face.

Observing the World Day of the Poor (WDP) with those less fortunate, can be a powerful way to demonstrate God’s mercy and support for them. Pope Francis encourages us to follow the example of Tobit, who showed kindness to those in need by performing acts of charity (cf. Tobit 4). Tobit's story teaches us to be compassionate towards those who are suffering by offering them assistance and companionship, and in doing so, we gain a deeper understanding of our Christian faith.

On the occasion of WDP, it is important to remember that helping those in need requires genuine efforts that can make a real difference in their lives. We should avoid any distractions or obstacles that may prevent us from extending a helping hand to those who require our assistance. Sometimes, even a small gesture, such as a smile or a helping hand, can have a significant impact on the lives of the less fortunate.

As human beings, it is important to have a humanitarian spirit and prioritise caring for the marginalised people in our community. Unfortunately, people living in poverty are often neglected or overlooked, making them invisible to us. We should devote our time and effort to helping those who have been affected physically, economically, and financially. It is essential that we look for the true face of Christ in the underprivileged and provide them with the attention and assistance they deserve. We should never forget or ignore them since they are always present in our lives.

The underprivileged can teach us many valuable lessons. They are present always and everywhere, providing us with the opportunity to share the gospel of joy with them. The Gospel instructs us to serve Jesus through the poor with love, respect, dignity, and justice. The impoverished are not strangers or outsiders to us. We must strive to make them a part of our lives. We should take every opportunity to alleviate their sufferings and difficulties and work towards restoring their lost dignity so that they can be included in our society.

Our commitment to assisting the underprivileged aims to unite people, accept them wholeheartedly, and provide them with the care they deserve. It is our responsibility to safeguard the rights and dignity of the underprivileged by paying attention to their needs and treating them as equals, just like our own brothers and sisters, (cf. Evangelii Gaudium, no. 199)

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