World Day of Social Justice 2021 Reflection

February 20, 2021

Rev. Dr. Paul Arnold, BCC, Mission and Spiritual Care Manager, Glacier Hills Senior Living

God has told you, O mortal, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly declared that the 20th day of February will be celebrated annually as the World Day of Social Justice. 

“Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality, or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”

One of the six core values for Trinity Health is Justice — We foster right relationships to promote the common good, including sustainability of Earth.

In the summer of 2020, Pope Francis gave a series of audience talks about Catholic social teaching considering the COVID-19 pandemic. With the social unrest and a cry for justice in America and across the world, Pope Francis focused on the need for justice as a faith response.

First, each person is part of God’s creation and there has incredible value deserving of justice.

Pope Francis said the pandemic has revealed economic and social systems influenced by a “distorted vision of the person, a gaze that ignores the person’s dignity and relational character” by seeing others as “objects, objects to be used and discarded.” Such an attitude is contrary to the faith, he said.

The Bible clearly teaches that God created every person with “a unique dignity, inviting us into communion with him, with our sisters and brothers (and) with respect for all creation.” “God created human beings “to be in communion,” the pope said. “We want to recognize the human dignity of every person, whatever his or her race, language or condition.”

Second, we are all connected and seeking harmony with God and others requires us to seek justice for all.

“As disciples of Jesus,” Pope Francis said, “we do not want to be indifferent or individualistic — two ugly attitudes, which are against harmony. Indifferent, I look the other way. And individualistic, ‘only for me,’ looking only at one’s own interests. The pandemic has highlighted how vulnerable and interconnected we all are. If we do not take care of each other, starting with the least — those who are most affected, including creation — we cannot heal the world.”  

Closing Prayer:

God of justice and mercy, you desire “right relationships” among your people.

Help us to recognize the inequities that challenge your desires for your community.

As we recognize your presence, particularly in our most vulnerable neighbors, guide our decision-making so we may always promote the common good.

We give you thanks for the goodness of creation.

Help us to responsibly sustain the gift of Earth for future generations.

Shape our ways into your ways.

We pray in your name, AMEN.

(Reference: www.oursundayvisitor.comPandemic has revealed how often human dignity is ignored, pope says – Our Sunday Visitor (osvnews.com)

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