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Treating the “Poor” With Respect

My brothers, show no partiality as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ. For if a man with gold rings on his fingers and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in, and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say, “Sit here, please,” while you say to the poor one, “Stand there,” or “Sit at my feet,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil designs? (James 2:1-4)

Very few of us would argue with James’ words from the Second Reading of today’s Mass. The poor should certainly be treated with the same respect as the rich. But, who are the poor? Is it only those with little wealth or possessions? Could it also be those who are “poor” in intelligence or manners? …Like the person who we try to avoid after Mass because they are annoying?

Try reading the above passage with that person in mind and see what you think. I don’t know about you, but I could do better.

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