27 Jul Symbolon Sundays: Catholic Social Responsibility & Teaching (Part 2)
“Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me”
We are called to reflect upon what it means to be our brother’s keeper. The love and care demanded from our faith of us is on the same level of Christ…that on its own is extremely intimidating! To put ourselves second for the betterment of our brothers and sisters is something that is challenging to do in our homes sometimes, let alone doing it for strangers. Luckily for us, we have the church, the virtue of the sacraments, all the graces bestowed upon the faithful, and the baptismal capacity to love like Christ. We just need to tap into it.
This episode suggested we start from our homes. From your father to your gateman, are you showing the love you know you can to them? Charity becomes a more natural occurrence when we sensitise ourselves to the needs of others. This means allowing ourselves to partake in the suffering, pain, weaknesses of others knowing that God has given us the strength to help those in need to whatever degree.
I want to introduce the Brother’s Keeper Challenge! This challenge requires you to do a 3-day act of kindness and love to someone who has upset you in recent times or someone who you feel you ought love more in your day to day life. Let us not forget that practising the faith is an important way in which we live the faith. May the Lord continue to give us the grace to be our brother’s keeper amen!
Do we see the image of Christ in everyone we encounter?
This question posed a dilemma for many people because how is it possible to see Christ in everybody? The okada driver, the bus driver, the gateman (blondie), the boss that gives you 3 hours worth of work 10 minutes before closing time – how can Christ be in these people?! The fact that Christ died on the cross to save the world his sacrifice is passed onto mankind. That sacrifice is Christ presence in everyone. If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross then by default you believe he is present in every living. So we can now see that the issue isn’t whether he is there or not but whether we are making the effort to see him in each other.
Catholic social teaching/ Catholic social responsibility
Last week we had the first section of CSR and we finished it in this last class. An interesting question was raised; is CSR just for Catholics? Our answer was in the video, which is no it isn’t. It is more of a blueprint of how the world should be organized through the eyes of the church than a “Catholics only” kind of thing. CST transcends worldly ideas of how the world should be organised because in abiding with CST, we begin to mirror how it is to live in heaven but on earth. This is not attempting to establish utopia because utopia is based on an individual’s idea of perfection. Whilst in heaven our creator has handled the thinking for us already. So CST and CSR succeeds in organising the world because we not only create a world in which sin does not prevail but simultaneously we are promoting love and care for your fellow man using Jesus Christ as our example to guide our actions. In doing so, CST/CSR solves many political and economic issues. CST is about creating a culture of Christ and for Christ. When you know who he is, believe in what he has done for the world, it becomes easier to understand our role in bringing salvation to the world as brothers and sisters in Christ. We are all representing him to a degree, it is now our choice to increase our disposition to his will in our lives.
Do we care for the sick/elderly/hurt/vulnerable/poor/needy/lonely?
How we choose to spread the love is another factor to consider. Charity is a key feature in the faith and we are encouraged to diversify our “charity portfolios”. An important point was raised in discussion which is that its not just about the what is being given its more about the act of giving. It doesn’t have to be money, food etc, it could be your time, your attention. Each person’s cup is overflowing with blessings so much so that we can give some to our neighbours. (REMEMBER THE BROTHER’S KEEPER CHALLENGE)
How far are we going to protect the dignity of the gift of life?
We heard about the works of Mother Theresa of Kalkuta and in her we saw an example of someone who protected the dignity of the gift of life. We are reminded that life is one of the most sacred gifts God has bestowed upon the world and that as Catholics, it is one of our responsibilities to protect the dignity of life. A key way in doing so is by loving our neighbours as ourselves and loving the way that Christ loved us. In loving each other like Christ loved us, we are reminded that in us there is something worth loving and this reminder alone gives our lives value. God’s love for us justifies why we were chosen to receive the gift of life and in loving each other we bring dignity to this gift because in spreading the love, we are showing appreciation of what is being given.
How important is the gift of Family in relation to CST?
We learnt that it is crucial to promote strong and prayerful families because it is from the familial sphere that the individual’s developmental process begins. In making Jesus Christ a mainstay in our families we are making it easier for us and our loved ones to be more disposed to his will. Having Christ as the cornerstone of the family, we are taking the key steps towards becoming the people God has called us to be.
How are we going to help the church spread CST through our community and its various societies?
A few issues were raised about various societies in the church. Be it the politics involved in getting into the societies or the lack of transparency in some of them. After a beefy discussion we came to the conclusion that it is only through Gods grace that the systems that man put in place to do God’s work will operate as He intends them to. Still we are encouraged to find a way as the laity to have a deeper relationship with the clergy and the church regardless of the human factor involved. Let us continue to ask God for the grace to help us spread CST/CSR to the world in whatever way in which he can and may he continue to bless the works of our hands.
We are called to remember that the Gospel is the fulfillment of humanity the way God intended it to be. Regardless of whether we understand or believe it, we all have a role to play in bringing the gospel to the world. It is often said that we cannot achieve heaven on earth because of the darkness in the world. We are called as Catholics to take the gospel and live it in our lives daily. In doing so, we connect with God’s Light, brightening up our world, bringing a little heaven into it.