Second Monday of Advent: “Say to those who are afraid: ‘Have courage, do not fear. See, your God comes, demanding Justice.’” Isaiah 35
The Bible has a lot to say about justice, which is unsurprising, since God demands justice, and has given over to us the responsibility to maintain it.
“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing.” Isaiah 61:8
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” Isaiah 1:17
“What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6:8
Our faith calls us to love God and to love our neighbours in every situation, especially our sisters and brothers living in poverty. Following in the footsteps of Christ, we hope to make present in our unjust and broken world, the justice, love and peace of God.
To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God is no easy task, but it’s a worthy calling. As we apply God’s heart of justice, we’ll see ourselves and others changed as the kingdom of heaven comes to earth.
Below are some of the principles of Catholic Social Teaching, guidelines which underpin the work of CAFOD, the Catholic aid foundation.
DIGNITY – “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5
We believe very human person is made in the image and likeness of God.
This is a gift that we all share as fellow human beings;
we are all infinitely loved by our Creator.
God is present in every human person,
regardless of religion, culture, nationality, orientation or economic standing.
Each one of us is unique and beautiful.
We are called to treat every person and every creature with loving respect.
SOLIDARITY “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers [or sisters] of mine, you did it to me.” Matthew 25:40
Solidarity arises when we remember that we belong to each other.
Solidarity spurs us to stand side by side with our sisters and brothers,
especially those living in poverty, find themselves in the grip of war and terror,
or are living under inhumane conditions.
We should help however and whoever we can,
thinking about our global neighbours.
OPTION FOR THE POOR “The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me… to let the oppressed go free.” Luke 4:18
The option for the poor reminds us of God’s love and concern
for the poorest and most vulnerable people.
God’s love is universal; he does not side with oppressors, but loves the humble.
This principle is believed to have originated
from the Liberation Theology movement in Latin America.
For the first time, people living in poverty in the slums
were holding the Bible in their own hands
and imagining a world free from injustice.
Prayer for peace: one family
Lord God, Father of all,
We, your children, are all members of the same human family,
We implore you to help us to accept your peace,
To be at peace with ourselves
and to live in peace with others.
Help us to seek wisdom and justice in all we do.
Help us to be more understanding and compassionate
when dealing with others,
To be ready to forgive when wronged,
To be willing to love when hurt and
To strive for harmony and peace when threatened.
Eternal Father, in your mercy, hear our prayer
And grant us your everlasting peace. Amen.
Diana Sutherland, CAFOD supporter
People of hope
In this season of Advent,
inspire us to be a people of hope.
Encourage us not to be greedy for material possessions,
but for justice and truth.
Enflame us with a love for others,
which crosses boundaries of race, religion and nationality.
Stir within us a desire to fight for the integrity of creation
and appreciate the immense beauty of the earth.
Be with us, Lord, at this time,
that we may be a people of hope. Amen.
who gives strength
to those who struggle
and to those who endure;
bless us with a compassionate heart
that feels with you the injustice of the world,
and help us to strive towards that peaceable
kingdom in which all your creatures
shall be free from pain
and live with you
for all eternity.
PSALM 23 – by Lutheran Evangelical Pastor Kameeta, Namibia.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have everything I need.
He lets me see a country of justice and peace
And directs my steps towards this land.
He gives me power.
He guides me in the paths of victory,
as he has promised.
Even if a full-scale violent confrontation breaks out
I will not be afraid, Lord,
for you are with me.
Your Shepherd’s power and love protect me.
You prepare for me my freedom,
where all my enemies can see it;
you welcome me as an honoured guest
and fill my cup with righteousness and peace.
I know that your goodness and love
will be with me all my life,
and your liberating love will be my home
as long as I live.
THE LORD’S PRAYER – Paraphrased by Monica Furlong
God, who cares for us, The wonder of whose presence fills us with awe. Let kindness, justice and love shine in our world. Let your secrets be known here as they are in heaven. Give us the food and the hope we need for today. Forgive us our wrongdoing as we forgive the wrongs done to us. Protect us from pride and from despair and from the fear and hate which can swallow us up. In you is truth, meaning, glory and power, while worlds come and go. Amen.
May the path that Christ walks to bring justice upon the earth, to bring light to those who sit in darkness, to bring out those who live in bondage, to bring new things to all creation:
may this path run through our life. May we be the road Christ takes.