05_Option for the Poor, Premium Content

A basic moral test is how our most vulnerable members are faring. In a society marred by deepening divisions between rich and poor, our tradition recalls the story of the Last Judgment (Mt 25:31-46) and instructs us to put the needs of the poor and vulnerable first.

“The poor not only suffer injustice, they also struggle against it! . . . [Solidarity] means that the lives of all take priority over the appropriation of goods by a few. It also means fighting against the structural causes of poverty and
inequality; of the lack of work, land and housing; and of the denial of social and labor rights. It means confronting the destructive effects of the empire of money: forced dislocation, painful emigration, human trafficking, drugs,
war, violence and all those realities that many of you suffer and that we are all called upon to transform . . . Love for the poor is at the center of the Gospel.” —Pope Francis, Address to the First World Meeting of Popular Movements

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LOVE the Word® is a Bible study method based on Mary’s own practice: lectio without the Latin. Get the book based on Sonja’s method in the right margin, How to Pray Like Mary.

L – Listen (Receive the Word via audio or video.)


O – Observe (Connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

Read the stories of Syrian refugees who have fled to Europe in search of a better life and learn about Catholic Relief Services’ response with the support of Catholics in the United States. How are you called to stand with those who are vulnerable?

From the Examination of Conscience in Light of Social Teaching

  • Do I give special attention to the needs of the poor and vulnerable in my community and in the world?
  • Am I disproportionately concerned for my own good at the expense of others?
  • Do I engage in service and advocacy work that protects the dignity of poor and vulnerable persons?

V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.

E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Saint Teresa of Calcutta, may we never fail to recognize and encounter Jesus in what you called his “most distressing disguise of the poorest of the poor.”  Amen + 

Show Notes

Topics Discussed:

Catholic social justice principle #4, the preferential option for the poor and vulnerable 

How to serve without superiority

What Jesus meant by “take my ‘yoke’ upon you” 


Minutes 00:12:00 – The secret to successful ministry, the preferential option for the poor   

Minutes 12:01-24:00 – Who are the poor, how do I serve them?

Minutes 24:01-36:00 – Serving without superiority, enabling the poor to thrive

Minutes 36:01-48:00 – The primary purpose of the option for the poor: to enable them to become active participants in society.

Additional Resources:

Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium)

St. Ambrose, “You are not making a gift of what is yours to the poor man, but you are giving him back what is his. You have been appropriating things that are meant to be for the common use of everyone. The earth belongs to everyone, not to the rich.” (Populorum Progressio, Pope Paul VI, 23)

United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Seven Themes of Catholic Social Teaching

Book, Amazon: Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and USCCB


Bible Study Evangelista is on the Laudate app!

Facebook Discussion Community

We’re talking about how to serve the poor over on the Bible Study Evangelista Facebook Discussion page. Come chat with us.

Read the Transcript

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3 thoughts on “05_Option for the Poor, Premium Content

  1. Great episode as usual, Sonja. I was raised by wonderful Catholic parents who gave always. Thank you for reminding us of our responsibility and love for the poor and vulnerable. We all get caught up in our own life and troubles sometime and forget our mission in life to love and support the least of our brothers. Thank you for this wak up call

  2. Hi Sonja,
    I am really learning so much from your series on Catholic Social Justice. I was wondering if I could get copies of 05 and 06 lessons. I haven’t been able to get the transcripts for those two. I’m wondering if somehow I missed them.

    Thank you for teaching on this series. I am a Catholic who did not learn her Catechism very well! You are the best Bible teacher I have ever heard. Love your show!

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