VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians cannot follow Jesus while turning away from people who are hungry, Pope Francis said.
In a video message promoting a “week of action” to fight hunger, Pope Francis said Jesus’ statement in Matthew 25:35 — “I was hungry and you gave me food” — is still a standard on which people will be judged at the end of time.
“The words of our Lord call to us today, telling us not to turn away, indifferent, when we know our neighbor is hungry,” the pope said in the video. The video was posted on www.caritas.org, the website of Caritas Internationalis, which is the umbrella organization of national Catholic charities around the world.
The Caritas week of action Oct. 12-19 is part of its “One Human Family, Food for All” campaign. The 160 charities that make up the Caritas network will hold special events to highlight the right to food and the need for government action to combat hunger and child malnutrition.
A Caritas statement Oct. 6 said the campaign also hopes to pressure governments to uphold the rights of farmers — particularly women farmers — and end speculation on food prices.
“It is a scandal that 800 million people go to bed without enough to eat,” said Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis. “We have the tools to end hunger by 2025; let’s act now.”
The Vatican-based international office said that among the events during the week of action is a cooking competition sponsored by Caritas Pakistan; the competing cooks are women who grew their own food thanks to assistance from the charity. Caritas Japan’s week will focus on educating people to avoid food waste at home while helping to buy seeds for farmers in East Africa.