The Perspective of Justice

The Great Sign

  “It is not good for the man to be alone,” God says in the reading from Genesis (First Reading). Humans are social beings: God created us to live and work together, to share our lives, to care about and for each other. Shortly after this story in Genesis, Cain asks the rhetorical question: “Am I my brother’s keeper?” The rest of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures answer with a resounding: “YES!”

The great sign of the social nature of men and women is marriage, in which the “two of them become one body, the two shall become as one.” Another sign is the Eucharist, for as Paul says in the Communion Antiphon: “we, though many, are one body, for we all share in the one loaf and in the one cup.” Marriage and Eucharist are signs of sharing lives and living together.

The unity of humankind is shattered every day by the many scourges of injustice: racism, sexism, poverty, hunger, homelessness, war. We are constantly violating the fundamental principle: “let no man separate what God has joined.” God has joined us in a society of brothers and sisters because it is not good for us to be alone: let no one separate that society through collusion in injustice.

Man’s social nature makes it evident that the progress of the human person and the advance of society itself hinge on each other. For the beginning, the subject and the goal of all social institutions is and must be the human person, which for its part and by its very nature stands completely in need of social life. This social life is not something added on to man. Hence, through his dealings with others, through reciprocal duties, and through fraternal dialogue he develops all his gifts and is able to rise to his destiny.

Vatican II, Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,
1965:25

Gerald Darring
 

**From Saint Louis University

Abby Upah