Created in the image of God, human beings are called to eliminate borders and build bridges of understanding while building up the reign of God. Often times we really cannot understand the struggles of others until you walk in their shoe, until you take off your comfortable Uggs and realize that the person that you are thinking of may not even have shoes to begin with. What a privilege it is to wear shoes and to wear so many!
We are one human family whatever our national, racial, ethnic, economic, and ideological differences. We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, wherever they may be. Loving our neighbor has global dimensions in a shrinking world. At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace. Pope Paul VI taught that “if you want peace, work for justice.” The Gospel calls us to be peacemakers. Our love for all our sisters and brothers demands that we promote peace in a world surrounded by violence and conflict.
USCCB on Solidarity
It is in embarking on journeys that we are able to understand the Catholic principle of solidarity, to me this is one of the most complex teachings since it calls us to a deeper level of sacrifice.
I challenge myself to one international mission a year. This year there is a possibility to take some students and families to Haiti, Jamaica or the Dominican Republic. In these journeys, we can access social justice and charity and see through the lens of church our responsibilities to our brothers and sisters, especially those in need.
Last year, we journeyed to Jamaica. I could see through the eyes of my students that they struggled with this concept. The fears, anxieties and struggles were clear. Both groups were able to carry each other and embrace in holiness.
While with the economically struggling people, our new friends in Christ, it was often times hard to really and truly connect based on our differences. Once we were able to breakthrough there were some neat Holy Spirit connections made especially during worship.
Upon returning our hearts were broken for days as we thought rationally that we may never be able to see these amazing new friends again.
As the days go by and we are back in our comfortable shoes and places we might have forgotten the burning of our hearts and may not be affected as much by the heart-breaking poverty.
Solidarity is echoed throughout scripture; we are given a biblical understanding of our responsibility towards the body of Christ and the suffering and joy which one can feel when we experience true solidarity with others. Let’s examine our international relations: our understanding of globalization and borders in conjunction with the human experience.
If one member of Christ’s body suffers, all suffer. If one member is honored, all rejoice.
1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Sherine Green teaches History of Black Catholics in the Church and World Religions for the Saint Joseph’s College Online Theology Program.