February 20

UN World Day of Social Justice

Reflection

 

In our country many people live difficult lives because of the inequalities between rich and poor, the lack of adequate health care, proper education or jobs. There are those who live in slums without basic facilities. There are others who are homeless. Throughout the world there are those who are hungry or starving and suffer from all types of violent oppression.
The United Nations’ World Day of Social Justice is observed annually to encourage people to look at social justice as an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. This day is a global observance to raise consciousness and promote plans for greater social justice by tackling poverty, social and economic exclusion and unemployment. Social justice is advanced when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability. The principles of social justice are upheld when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants.
Social Justice applies to the whole range of human interactions, and today it is also extended to animals and the environment. Justice impels us to deal fairly with others, recognizing the equality and dignity of all. It demands that we work to insure that all people, especially those who are poor or weak, have access to opportunity. Justice believes that none of us is free until all of us are.

Prayer

We pray for those whose cries are ignored by the powers that seek to silence them. We pray for those for whom life is unfair or discriminatory, for those who live in the midst of violence, for those who are innocent victims of wars, for those who live in poverty and hunger, for all who live in conditions which are harmful to their well-being.

Action

Name injustices when you see them. Refuse to participate in discriminatory or inflammatory language. Speak out with confidence; practice justice by demanding it with organized  groups. Exercise your citizenship by taking time to vote.

Suggested Reading

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Matthew 5:6

So in everything, do to others as you would have them do to you.
Matthew 7:12.

None of us can think we are exempt from concerns for the poor and for social justice.
Pope Francis

Social justice cannot be attained by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.
Pope John Paul II

The great need today is for Christians who are active and critical, who don’t accept situations without analyzing them inwardly and deeply.
Archbishop Oscar Romero

To be just, is not enough to refrain from injustice. Once must go further and refuse to play its game, substituting love for self interest as the driving force of society.
Pedro Arrupe, S.J.

As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

In these days of difficulty, we Americans everywhere must and shall choose the path of social justice…, the path of faith, the path of hope, and the path of love toward our fellow man.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.
Albert Einstein

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot uneducate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride. And you cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.
César Chávez

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way .Many of us won’t be here to greet her, but on quiet days If you listen carefully you can almost hear her breathing.
Arundhati Roy , India

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