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Hearing the cries of the poor

KOTA KINABALU – A pre-Christmas Garage Sale in aid of the poor was run on the eve of the 2nd World Day of the Poor, commemorated worldwide this year on Nov 18.

The garage sale, which was held at the Sacred Heart parish centre on Nov 11, was the third of its kind, organized by the Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community (LJCCC), as a way to engage members, as well as the parish at large, to not only “hear the cries of the poor”, but to give ourselves a chance to follow Christ’s example and concretely share a moment of love, hope and respect with those in need.

The World Day of the Poor, marked each year on the 33rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, was established by Pope Francis in his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, issued on 20 November 2016 to celebrate the end of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy, and to allow us to grow in the conviction that sharing with the poor enables us to understand the deepest truth of the Gospel.

The garage sale in aid of the poor was conceived out of a positive response from parishioners and others outside the parish to the regular garage sales used to be held by the community.

Though the small contribution seemed like a drop of water in the desert of poverty, the pope said, it could be a sign of sharing for those in need, that they might experience the active presence of a brother or a sister.

The money raised is mainly targeted for the poor in Kota Marudu area, particularly in Sonsogon Magandai and Gosusu, where the community sponsors the running of two kindergartens.  The community also sponsors a blind couple with five children in Telipok and another blind woman with two children in Tuaran. 

Besides, the community is also attentive to other needs encountered by those who have ‘fallen on hard times’.

The concept of a garage sale enables members and other benefactors to “spring clean” their homes, a challenge to “downsize” possessions to simplify their life, a concrete readiness to “share” not necessarily from their surplus, and an active and personal involvement.

The pope encourages us to make a “serious examination of conscience” capable of “listening to the cries of the poor” as opposed to “watching or standing nearby, either cannot or just do not care”.

However, the givers are encouraged to give out of their goodness to bless the poor, and to refrain from using the garage sale as ‘dumping ground’. – LJCCC

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