The Perspective of Justice

Love and Leadership  

The readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter are about community, and specifically about two unifying elements within community: love and leadership. Love binds the Christian community together, for “if we love one another, God dwells in us,” and we partake of the unity of the Godhead.

The leadership of the apostles and their successors also binds the Christian community together, and the story of the choosing of Matthias reminds us of the importance of that leadership.

In 1991 we celebrated the centenary of Catholic social teaching, a collection of statements made by the most recent successors of the apostles. This body of teaching reflects the love of God and neighbor spoken of in the Second Reading and the consecration to truth spoken of in the Gospel.

It is a recognition by those “chosen for the apostolic ministry” that Christians have been sent into the world to work within that world for “the unveiling of beauty that is yet to be.”

The apostles were witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus. Their successors continue to witness to the action of Jesus rescuing us from the deadly evils of oppression and war.

Catholic social teaching is a powerful and liberating message in a world of stark contradictions: a world of inspiring new freedom and lingering oppression, of peaceful change and violent conflict, of remarkable economic progress for some and tragic misery and poverty for many others.

Our teaching is a call to conscience, compassion, and creative action in a world confronting the terrible tragedy of widespread abortion, the haunting reality of hunger and homelessness, and the evil of continuing prejudice and poverty.

Our teaching lifts up the moral and human dimensions of major public issues, examining ‘the signs of the times’ through the values of the Scriptures, the teaching of the Church, and the experience of the People of God.

U.S. Bishops, A Century of Social Teaching:
A Common Heritage, A Continuing Challenge (1990)


Gerald Darring


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson