Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 11, 2008
Social justice’s heart is the heart of Jesus - Archbishop Smith
We must live like Jesus did who loves us the
way God loved him
- WCR photo by Ramon Gonzalez
Archbishop Richard Smith told Faith Development Day delegates to, “Be just in your relationships with others.”
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
We are called to be agents of justice as Jesus Christ is, Archbishop Richard Smith told staff of Edmonton Catholic Schools Feb 5. But that requires us to live for God and for others, just as Jesus Christ does.
“We cannot accomplish the justice that we seek. It’s only through communion with the heart of Christ that we are able to love God, to love neighbour and to live in just relation with one another,” the archbishop said at the Edmonton Catholic Schools’ annual Faith Development Day.
“The heart of social justice is the heart of Jesus Christ and communion with the heart of Jesus Christ is the indispensable condition for the possibility of true justice.”
Smith was guest speaker at the Faith Development Day. Some 3,000 staff attended the event at Shaw Conference Centre.
Speaking on the event’s theme, The Heart of Social Justice, Smith said we are called to live like Jesus Christ who loves us the way God loves him.
“The love that Jesus has for us and extends to us is the very love that he himself has received from the father,” he said. “The death of Jesus on the cross was the supreme act of his love. This act stems from the infinite love of Christ, a love that resided in his own heart. The heart of Social Justice is the heart of Jesus Christ.”
The archbishop read several passages from Scripture, including one that shows God entered into a covenant with his chosen people. He establishes this covenant by intervening in the life of Abraham and promising him to liberate his people from all that held them captive.
He deepened the covenant by saying, “Yes, I’ll be your God and you will be my people.” God then invited his people to respond to his love by submitting themselves to him. And he spelled what this covenant will mean to them by giving them the Ten Commandments.
Love of God
“The Ten Commandments proclaim the love of God, (who) invited the people to give their lives back to him, to make him first, centre, foundation, salvation, end of all their lives and to reflect their covenant by living just relationships with their neighbours,” Smith told his audience.
“It’s only through communion with the heart of Christ that we are able to love God, to love neighbour.”
- Archbishop Smith
“And we enter into this covenant of love precisely by extending and being agents of that liberating love to others; by granting them their dignity for who they are and by refusing to do anything that will lessen their dignity, that will bring harm to them, that will hold them captive.”
Smith then recited some of the commandments and said, “Be just in your relationships with others. When we turn away from God in infidelity and break the covenant of love then injustice may (permeate) our relationships with one another.”
We are called to love like Jesus, but “such love requires a readiness to act for justice, to honour the dignity of the other and to serve his or her (needs),” the archbishop said in the first of his two talks. “Love does no evil to the neighbour. Love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Superintendent Joan Carr also addressed the social justice theme in her opening remarks. Quoting from Henri Nouwen, Carr told her staff, “You are Christians only so long as you look forward to a new world. So long as you constantly pose critical questions to the society you live in.
“So long as you emphasize the need for conversion both for yourself and for the world. “So long as you stay unsatisfied with the status quo and keep saying that a new world is yet to come.”