CATHOLIC SOCIAL JUSTICE TEACHING PART 1

INTRODUCTION

Lately, our country has been fixated on the debate on health care legislation in Congress. The country is almost equally divided in the general beliefs that health care is either a right or health care is what you can purchase if you want it and can afford it… sort of like that washer and dryer, flat screen TV, or new or second car.

This blog will deal with teachings from Scripture that refer to social justice..  My next blog (Part II) will deal with Catholic Church teaching on Social Justice from Encyclicals and Catechism of the Catholic Church which will address the COMMON GOOD!

“By common good is to be understood “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily… The common good concerns the life of all.,,,, In the name of the common good, public authorities are bound to respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the human person…‘ (CCC 1905-1997)

Recently the Senate was asked to vote on a health care bill (skinny repeal) that Senators argued never should become law but if passed may get to the House so more tinkering could be done and try again to pass something that the majority of the people have clearly rejected.

SERVING THE COMMON GOOD OR RUNNING FOR OFFICE AGAIN???

The President’s proposed Budget for the next fiscal year would slash drastically Medicaid, cut food programs for children, $193 billion, cuts to children health care, cuts to disability insurance SSDI, but offer 1.6 billion for construction of a border wall COMMON GOOD??

To those that say charity is well and good but should be handled by charitable organization and insist that the Government should stay out of “social welfare” programs,  I say, they may have a point but are there charitable organizations now that address the needs of the most vulnerable?

Without the authority of government who is going to protect most vulnerable?  For example, I do not know any non-governmental charitable organization that pays for doctor bills, prescriptions, or operations, necessary to the life of a vulnerable individual, and meeting their constitutional rights as declared in the Declaration of Independence.

Declaration of Independence begins: We hold these truths to be self–evident, That all men are created equal,That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, That among these are LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.– That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, Deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…(July 4, 1776)

ROMAN CATHOLIC BLOG SOCIAL JUSTICE IN SCRIPTURE

Catholic Social Justice teaching calls on us the “people of God” to minister to our neighbor’s needs, to speak out against injustice, and to work for peace. In the first Epistle of John, chapter 4, verse 20, it reads, “Anyone who says I love God and hates his neighbor is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

The Epistle of James, chapter 2, verse 14 says, “Faith without works is dead.” And earlier James writes, “If a brother or sister is in need of food or shelter and you say to them I wish you well, good luck, keep yourself warm and eat plenty without giving them the necessities of life, how is your faith going to save you or your hungry neighbor.”

In John’s Gospel, 13:34-35, Jesus says, “I give you 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.” — Probable source of Christian hymn, “You will know we are Christians by our love.”

St. Paul compares the human body to the body of Christ, the Church.  I Corinthians 12:4-26 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone….  

Now the body is not a single part, but many.  Even if a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. 

Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body.  If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended…”

St. Paul goes on to say, “Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, whereas our more presentable parts do not need this.

God has so constructed the body that there may be no divisions in the body so that the parts of the body may have concern for every other part. If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy.” Just as it is in the human body so it is in the body of Christ, the Church.

CONCLUSION

In summary then, we take a look at Jesus’ Last Judgment discourse from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 25 v. 31 – 45. “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, and all the nations will be assembled before him.

And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.   For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.

Then the righteous will answer him and say, Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you? And the king will say to them in reply, Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.

Then he will say to those on his left, Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  A stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.

Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’  He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.  And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

How do I show compassion to my neighbor?  Will I hear Jesus say to me, “‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world….

Pray it may be so!

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