I agree there are some “great answers” on this thread:
This has also been my experience – that the majority of those who voice this particular complaint, though they may say much, never actually end up *doing *much to remedy the situation –as Nicene so aptly put it, they stay on the “sidelines” and never really get in the action themselves.
One is sometimes left wondering exactly which type of filter they could’ve been looking through when they read the Letter of St. James:
If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and has no food for the day ,and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, keep warm, and eat well,” but you do not give them the necessities of the body, what good is it?
If we read into Mudboots’ post:
–we learn in Mark 14:1-11 , it is precisely when this same criticism arises ( the perfumed oil could’ve been sold and the money given to the poor ), that our Blessed Lord’s replies “The poor you will always have with you . . .”
Most notably, Christ’s own words to his disciples just before the crowd would be fed were “Give them some food yourselves.” [Matthew 14:16, Luke 9:13]
It will thus always be up to each of us (as opposed to any of them) to help the poor – as further evidenced when we complete the thought of our Blessed Lord from Mark 14:7 “The poor you will always have with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them, but you will not always have me.”
On the subject of giving :If we are people of very little means, we shouldn’t let that present an insurmountable obstacle to our giving: According to our dear Lord’s own words, we actually have the opportunity/potential to contribute more than the rich do –however small our contribution may be:
He said, "I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest;
Much better to view the world through God’s own eyes, than through those of a critic.
I might add this personal observation that the criticism we’re looking at (of selling things to feed the poor) is slightly deceptive when generalized , which provides (either intentionally or inadvertently) a considerable degree of difficulty any time we may wish to give it a direct answer :
Technically speaking, though the two are certainly interrelated, according to the example we are given in sacred scripture , Jesus never fed the poor : He fed the hungry.
If you want to see what can happen when you give money to the poor (as opposed to food to the hungry) – there are ample stories in this city, about people living on social assistance who spend an inordinate amount of the living money given to them, on lottery tickets.
A best case scenario for each of us , might be to remain open to, what our Lord calls, the “wish” to do good to the poor, and to act upon that motivation . . . probably not a bad New Year’s resolution . . . but first, I’m going to join in the celebration of the feast of Mary – the Mother of God (and our Mother, who incidentally ,also happens to be Mother of the poor).