Social Justice Week: 11th – 17th September 2016
Perhaps, when we read about social justice, it may or may not interest us. For some it may be an abstract concept which does not mean much. Others may be happy that the Church stresses the importance of caring about migrants and how welcome they are in our various communities. Are not many of us migrants? We would also have been sensitive about how people welcomed us when we arrived in New Zealand.
Each year in September, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference gives us Social Justice Week to consider Catholic social teaching on an issue of social justice in New Zealand. This year the theme for parishes is: We all have a migration story:
Fostering a culture of encounter. Let us take this time to reflect and consider how we can foster a culture of encounter in our own life and in the life of the parish, being aware that we have over 16 nationalities represented at St Teresa’s. Yes, many of us are foreigners. Yet, are we not all children of the same Father who loves each one of us with an infinite love, even if we have been or still are, a lost sheep or a prodigal son or daughter?
Pope Francis encourages us to foster “a culture of encounter “Welcoming others means welcoming God in person! Do not let yourselves be robbed of the hope and joy of life born of your experience of God’s mercy, as manifested in the people you meet on your journey!”
This week is a good time to ask ourselves the question: Since I arrived in this parish, have I tried to encounter other parishioners who are from another country? Do I offer to cooperate with other parishioners on various projects or on services to the parish? Do I live in my little bubble, or do I reach out to others who are different from me?
Since Mother Teresa of Calcutta has been proclaimed “Saint” by Pope Francis last Sunday in Rome, let us live as she did in our relationship with God through daily prayer and charity in action. She was more than a social worker. She saw each person in need, no matter how poor and unclean, as Christ himself made in the image of God. She loved Christ in them. During this week, let us look at one another with the eyes of Jesus.