In the context of a culture that sows violence, exploitation, and selfishness, Pope Francis’s call in Laudato Si’ for social and political love (#231) could not be more timely.
The Pope’s call to practice social and political love and today’s Gospel go to the heart and soul of what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
Matthew 25 is absolutely clear about what it means to keep the most primary commandments of love of God and neighbor. Yet as the Ignatian network, we are part of a global elite–one percent–who have a college education (or are gaining one).
That may also mean we are disconnected physically and geographically from feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, healing the sick, and visiting the imprisoned. Practicing Matthew 25 may mean that we need to cross many social, economic, and racial barriers to become a people of social intimacy and tenderness.
And, as Pope Francis makes clear, along with little gestures of intimate care, “social love moves us to devise larger strategies to halt environmental degradation and encourage a ‘culture of care’ that permeates all of society. (#231)”
- How do I/we feed the hungry, quench other’s thirst, heal the sick, shelter the homeless, and visit the imprisoned?
- How do I/we contribute to larger social strategies of care that prevent hunger, thirst, illness, homelessness, and over-incarceration?
Alex Mikulich is a Catholic social ethicist and racial equity consultant. He is co-author of The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A Nonviolent Spirituality of White Resistance (Palgrave 2013 and 2015). He co-edited and contributed to Interrupting White Privilege: Catholic Theologians Break the Silence (Orbis 2007) which won the Theological Book of the Year from the College Theology Society.