22. Sep, 2018

Social Justice Sunday 30th September 2018

A Place to Call Home

The Australian Catholic Bishops’ Social Justice Statement for 2018–19 is titled ‘A Place to Call Home: Making a home for everyone in our land’. (PDF http://www.socialjustice.catholic.org.au/files/SJSandresources/2018/050918/Social%20Justice%20Statement%202018%20WEB.pdf). 

The latest Census figures show that more than 116,000 Australians are homeless – something unacceptable for a rich and well-resourced nation like ours.

The Scriptural basis of this year’s Statement is Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30–35), about the outsider who stops to help a man in desperate need, takes him to safety and pays for his care.

Every day in our streets, we, like the Samaritan, see wounded people desperately in need of help. They are the homeless and the lost, injured by misfortune, by violence and by poverty. How have so many people come to be on the streets of such a rich nation? And how is it that housing has become so unaffordable that it excludes increasing numbers of Australians?

In the Gospel of the good Samaritan Jesus told this parable in response to a lawyer who challenged him: ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’ and ‘Who is my neighbour?’ The lawyer clearly wanted to test how far the commandment to love our neighbour extended.

In the parable, the man by the roadside, stripped and left half dead, had experienced what most people who sleep rough in our cities and towns know and fear: danger, violence and being robbed of the little they own. He, like many who are homeless in our society, was helpless.

While the priest and the Levite passed by, the Samaritan went out of his way, came close and tended the victim’s wounds with oil and bandages. He put his hand into his own pocket to help.

All four characters illustrate the social and political circumstances of the day. There was division between Jews and Samaritans. There was division between the rich and the poor.

We too live in a divided society – one in which we can so easily cross to the other side of the road. Jesus challenges us as individuals and as a nation. Will Australia let its heart go out to the homeless or will we continue to walk past?

The challenge of homelessness can seem so overwhelming that we may ask: ‘What can I do as an individual? There are so many people in need, with such complex problems.’ The challenges of homelessness can seem insurmountable. And, of course, there are limits to what each of us can do.

However, Jesus’ parable shows us how revolutionary and effective the actions of one person can be. Each one of us can make a difference and, when we join with others, we can be a real force for change.

We are called to be like the Samaritan by:

• We can make sure all are welcomed in our parishes.

• We can all lend a hand. There are many organisations and programs working to prevent homelessness, to support and help find accommodation for people who are homeless. We can support the outstanding work of organisations like CatholicCare and Vinnies by volunteering our time or raising donations. We commend and encourage the commitment of young people engaging in many works of charity and justice for the poor through their schools and youth apostolates. This is an essential witness of our faith.

• We can raise awareness about the problem of homelessness in various ways.

See also http://www.johnthebaptistmoora.com/346443107/6234683/posting/social-justice-sunday-30th-september-2018

Readings

On Social Justice Sunday we take the readings from the Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time

 Prayers of the Faithful

The following intercessions are offered for incorporation in your Prayers of the Faithful.

Celebrant: We pray to the God of all people, that our hearts will be open to Jesus’ message of justice and compassion and that we will be inspired to welcome and support our sisters and brothers who endure poverty and homelessness in our society today.

For all people who struggle to meet the costs of housing and live in the shadow of homelessness, that the abundance of our nation’s wealth will be shared to ensure that all can find a place to call home.

Let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord hear our prayer

For our political leaders who govern for the common good of our nation, that your spirit of justice and compassion will urge them on to address the scourge of homelessness in our society.

Let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord hear our prayer

For your community of faith and all people of good will, that we will foster communities in which all who are afflicted by poverty and exclusion will find welcome, belonging and assistance in their time of need.

Let us pray to the Lord: R. Lord hear our prayer

Celebrant: Hear the prayers of your people, merciful God, and in your loving kindness, grant us all that we need to remain faithful to you. We ask this through Christ Our Lord. 

Amen.