Vital Sunday: Pope Francis has tossed off the golden garb and sneaks out to feed the homeless, says Think Progress. “The leader of the Catholic Church has been quietly sneaking out of the Vatican at night to minister to homeless residents” they report. Swiss guards confirmed that the pope has ventured out at night, dressed as a regular priest, to modestly serve homeless men and women according to The Huffington Post.
The Post says Pope Francis sneaks out of the enclave with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski. As Almoner of His Holiness, Krajewski is the Vatican’s point person on giving charity to the poor and visits the destitute nightly.
This isn’t the first time Pope Francis’ predilection to serve the needy has been demonstrated. Just months after assuming the papacy, he invited hundreds of homeless people to dine at the Vatican. He deplores the plight of homeless people: “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?” Francis says the Catholic Church has grown too “obsessed” with abortion, contraception, and gay marriage – imploring followers to focus on combating trickle-down economics and the world of inequality.
Pope Francis is much more modest than his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI, “shedding gold-embroidered robes and an ornate golden throne for white threads and a wooden chair,” earning him the nickname “Pope of the Poor.” This is fitting for a man who assumed the name of Francis after the 13th century Saint who focused attention on the poor.
Pope Francis’s outreach to the homeless is only observing what the Bible teaches about treating those less fortunate in society. Most famously is Matthew 25:40, where Jesus taught followers, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”
Most interesting, however, is the Pope’s decision to serve the homeless without fanfare. A press release from the Vatican about Pope Francis’ meetings with the homeless would have undoubtedly earned him media praise, but the fact that he chose to sneak out undercover suggests a more humble approach. Perhaps he was following the teachings of Matthew 6:2: “When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others.” Instead, give discreetly, “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”