Behold, the wages you withheld from the workers who harvested your fields
are crying aloud;
and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.
The letter of James is not afraid to address issues of social injustice. Who are the workers who harvest our fields today? All workers no matter who they are deserve a living wage. Corporations using people who work in sweatshop conditions, paying wages insufficient to support a family, and who support the lack of affordable health care, while enjoying extreme income inequality, are not consistent with the message of Jesus. As Christians in the developed world, we certainly are challenged to reflect on our affluent society and the consumer values which dominate our culture and see where we stand.
May we act justly.
Reflect on your inadvertent support of unjust working conditions. Why? How can you change?
Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18
The Church’s social teaching is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of modern society. It offers moral principles and coherent values that are badly needed in our time. In this time of widespread violence and diminished respect for human life and dignity in our country and around the world, the Gospel of life and the biblical call to justice need to be proclaimed and shared with new clarity, urgency, and energy. … Sharing our social tradition more fully and clearly is an essential way to bring good news, liberty, and new sight to a society and world in desperate need of God’s justice and peace.
USCCB, Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other’s welfare, social justice can never be attained.
Fairness is what justice really is.
Charity is no substitute for justice withheld.