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Give a cup of water

28 September 2009

The Catholic Church of Australia designates one Sunday each year to reflect on their mission towards social justice. Today was that day.

One year on from World Youth Day in Australia, the conference of Australian Bishops has turned to its youth to carry out the message of social justice. The statement, titled You will be my witnesses: Young people and social justice opens with a reflection that it was the same Holy Spirit that brought young people to WYD that also takes them out into the modern world. Within the statement, it is the words of the Holy Father that tell us why young people have been the target of this year’s message, however it is definitely not limited to them:

What will you leave to the next generation? Are you building your lives on firm foundations, building something that will endure? Are you living your lives in a way that opens up space for the Spirit in the midst of a world that wants to forget God, or even rejects him in the name of a falsely-conceived freedom? How are you using the gifts you have been given, the ‘power’ which the Holy Spirit is even now prepared to release within you? What legacy will you leave to young people yet to come? What difference will you make?

And contained within these words are not the exclusive call for Catholics or Christians. It is simply the same questions that confront people today. Much has been said in ways of global warming and the environment. Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, in his addressed to the United Nations last week also raised climate change as an issue confronting the global community.

But social justice isn’t contained within world leaders. If we take the simple message from the scriptures on Social Justice Sunday, it is as easy and practical as giving a cup of water to those in need.

John said to him, “Teacher, we saw a man casting out demons in your name, and we forbade him, because he was not following us.” But Jesus said, “Do not forbid him; for no one who does a mighty work in my name will be able soon after to speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is for us. For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink, will by no means lose his reward.

Mark 9:38-41

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