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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Doing Justice

"May your priests be clothed with justice; let your faithful ones shout merrily for joy." Ps 132:8

Being just and doing justice is an essential element of the Christian vocation. At the end of the 19th century, when the world was changing more rapidly than anyone could understand or accept, and workers were being used and abused by the newly emerging assembly line technology which left them exhausted at the end of a working day, the church, under the leadership of Pope Leo XIII wrote,
"Justice, therefore, demands that the interests of the working classes should be carefully watched over by the administration, so that they who contribute so largely to the advantage of the community may themselves share in the benefits which they create – that being housed, clothed, and bodily fit, they may find their life less hard and more endurable. (Rerum Novarum # 34)

Forty years later, Pius XI wrote even more succinctly, "In the first place, the worker must be paid a wage sufficient to support him and his family," (Quadregessimo Anno, #71) and near the end of the twentieth century, John Paul II reminded everyone, "Work is in the first place 'for the worker' and not the worker 'for work.' Work itself can have greater or lesser objective value, but all work should be judged by the measure of dignity given to the person who carries it out." (Laborem Exercens, #6)

In a world in which too many people, without work and the dignity work can offer the worker, are hungry, thirsty and naked, Jesus' command to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty, becomes increasingly important,(Mt 25:32-46) and our obligation to do justice gratefully an even more powerful sign of God's love for all. When we live a just life, everything and everyone changes. Not only do we practice the Gospel in everyday life, we witness to others the joy we experience in being Good News.

Today, be grateful for the food and work you have.

How do you think justice should proceed in the world?

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