Social Justice Corner for May 15, 2022

(I am writing a monthly column for my parish bulletin’s Social Justice Ministry, reflecting on the Sunday Readings)

Loving One Another

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus gives his followers a new commandment: love one another. “As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

But what does it mean to love one another? Does it simply mean being kind and generous?

In Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis teaches about love: one that proceeds directly from the virtue of charity and is directed to individuals and peoples, and one that that spurs people to create more sound institutions, more just regulations, and more supportive structures. Quoting the Pontifical Counsel for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Francis states “it is an equally indispensable act of love to strive to organize and structure society so that one’s neighbor will not find himself in poverty.”

In Economic Justice for All, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops affirmed this: “The obligation to provide justice for all means that the poor have the single most urgent economic claim on the conscience of the nation.”

Loving one another extends far beyond loving our family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. It means acknowledging those who are poor in our communities and actively working to remedy the causes of their poverty. This means supporting programs that provide financial assistance to the needy, advocating for affordable homes, eliminating barriers for people who are discriminated against due to skin color or a previous criminal record, and ensuring living wages and access to work for all.

Christian love is a verb – not a feeling. As Christ’s disciples, let us go out and love one another.

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