Social Justice Sunday
The theme of Social Justice Sunday is ‘Making it Real’, a reflection on the digital age and its effects on society. Some might say; “a first world problem”.
The recent visit of Pope Francis to Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius did not rate much news space here but was a major event in those countries and is a salutary and appropriate commentary upon today’s Gospel and, maybe, an appropriate reflection for us in our digital age.
One million people in Antananarivo heard the Pope say, “As we look around us, how many men and women, young people and children are suffering and in utter need.” 75% of the people in Madagascar live on less than two dollars a day. The Pope went on: “This is not part of God’s plan. We Christians cannot stand by with arms folded in indifference.”
So the rich man (‘Dives’) and Lazarus enter our conversation:
Dives was buried.
Lazarus was carried away to the bosom of Abraham.
Hades was not a happy place. But still the call to repentance was not heeded. Dives had scorned the injunctions of the scripture and not heeded the call of the prophets. He ignored the presence of Lazarus at his door and now he wishes to send the same Lazarus as if he was a servant to Dives’ brothers. Is it not a bit like Australia asking East Timor to be responsible for the welfare of Japan?
Our digital age presents similar challenges. Watch the families and couples at dinner in the hotels and clubs. Information overload (I am eating…) says the statement, as well as social isolation (Lazarus at the gate), abuse online, fake news, and even persecution that, sadly, leads to harm and death.
The same Pope has called us to “boldly become citizens of the digital age but to have before us the image of the Good Samaritan…”
Dives, Lazarus, the people in Mauritius, you and I are all called to love our neighbour and to bring the love of God to the new global neighbourhood. The Pope in Madagascar appealed “don’t dilute and narrow the Gospel message.”
Dives and Lazarus still exist in our world, in different forms. Let us continue to proclaim the Good News, and to roll up our sleeves and put our faith into action.