Early on, as the nascent church began to grow, it became apparent that unless widows and orphans were treated justly and with compassion, the preaching of the apostles and disciples would lose its power to change those who heard it. No word, no matter how divine, can move people's hearts if it does challenge people to care more deeply for one another and especially the vulnerable young and elderly.
In recent years, it has become common to hear people say someone either does or doesn't "get it," and we ought to be grateful that the early church "got it." As soon as it was reported that some widows were being ignored or not properly cared for, the apostles directed the community to select seven men whose primary responsibility would be caring for widows and orphans. The church understood that the message of Jesus was built on a commitment to the poor and voiceless.
Pope Francis reinforced this teaching not simply by going to a youth prison to celebrate Holy Thursday, he will soon a visit a center for undocumented refugees in Rome. Clear about his concern for the poor by his choice of the name Francis, after St Francis of Assisi, the Poverello or little poor one, Pope Francis is intent on challenging us regularly to live the Gospel, not just preach it.
Today, reexamine your attitudes towards refugees and undocumented people in our country.
What role do you think the church should have in social justice?