Sydney (Agenzia Fides) - “Jesus, Light for the World Living the Gospel Today” is the title of the 2005 Social Justice Statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in view of Australia’s national Social Justice Sunday on 25 September.
In the statement prepared by the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council the Bishops remind Christians that “Jesus is the light of our lives. He is light for our footsteps and the guide for our path. As we walk in the light we give it a chance to shine in our world.” And they ask “How today are we light for the world?”. The answer is, by imitating Christ who cared for the poor, the hungry the suffering who encouraged his disciples to do just this (Mt 25,31-46).
One of the points raised by the Bishops was that affluence can be harmful. They warned that in Australia as in many other ‘rich’ countries, levels of consumption have harmed the environment and depleted natural resources, while the pursuit of comfort has served to only increase anxiety levels. All this while millions of people in developing countries still live in dire poverty.
Citing an Australia Institute study the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council claimed more than $10 billion is spent each year on products and services that no one uses. While thirst for economic success and wellbeing leaves people less time for family, friends, spiritual growth.
However, recalling the people’s overwhelming response to the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami the Bishops said this showed that Australians are people of values and compassion and “we cannot turn a blind eye to the great issues facing our world, from environmental degradation to refugees to war, failed states and ethnic violence”.
“For many people (Jesus) the light we offer unknowingly is their only hope” the Bishops said.
To mark Social Justice Sunday the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council circulates its annual Social Statement in Catholic parishes, dioceses and institutes across the nation and promotes initiatives to increase awareness as well as projects to provide concrete assistance for people in need. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 14/9/2005 righe 26 parole 272)