A Holy Day Blessing to the Poor, to all who accompany them in their journeys, and to those who stand firm against the powers of hell and the culture of death, from the Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him - the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD - and he will delight in the love of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist.

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper's nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea. Isaiah 11:1-9

What did Jesus say about the poor?

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.

We live in a culture of death that praises wealth and power, but God exalts the poor, humbles the proud, and raises up those who are down-trodden. The calling of Christians in this modern world is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Does God hear the prayers of the poor?

God hears the cry of the oppressed. He is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours our her complaint. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest until it reaches its goal. Nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right.

To find strength to meet the challenges of each day, turn to God in prayer, indeed, "pray without ceasing". God hears and answers our prayers, although not always in the way that we perhaps expect. As we pray together for justice and peace, so must we work for justice and peace, so that the Kingdom of God may be a reality on earth as it is in heaven.

What can we do in the face of so much evil in the world?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Evil is a mystery, and it draws strength from its ability to make us feel powerless. In hard times such as the ones in which we live, it is important for us to have faith in the words of strength and encouragement that God has given us. It doesn't matter if we are rich or poor, or have a job or good health, each of us has something to do with building the Reign of God, right here, right now. St. Catherine of Sienna said, "All the way to heaven is heaven." Every time we commit a random act of kindness or a senseless act of beauty, we stand firm against the culture of death & build the civilization of life & love.

A Holy Day Blessing from our Lord Jesus Christ, who said . . .

The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppresed go free, to proclaim the year of the LORD'S favor.

May the Blessings of Christmas be with you and give you peace.

+ Oscar Romero Catholic Worker House

+ 1524 NW 21st, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73106 + Help Line: 405-557-0436 + Other calls: 405-613-4688 + robert (at) justpeace.org +

www.justpeace.org + www.bettertimesinfo.org + www.energyconservationinfo.org + www.oklahomacityrail.org

The quotes from the Bible referenced above are: Luke 6:20-23 + Sirach 35:13-18 + Romans 12:21 + Matthew 4:18