“Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’
“And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:34-40)
When Jesus described how God will evaluate our lives on earth, he did not list commandments or consult a spreadsheet of religious rituals to be completed. Rather, he gave several examples of how his disciples are to live, and all of these involved service, service to the lonely, the forgotten, the poor and the outcast.
This is the concept of social justice; sharing what we have and serving others is not something extra. It is essential. Our surplus possessions belong to the poor by divine justice. Our extra time is meant to be shared with others. Our talents are given to us to improve society.
At the Church of the Good Shepherd we take social justice seriously. Our Society of St. Vincent de Paul distributes money to those who are unable to pay rent or utilities or to buy groceries for their families. Our parishioners are encouraged to take Jesus’ command to visit the imprisoned literally. We regularly collect groceries to supply area food pantries. We visit the sick and the homebound. We support ministries to gang members and pregnant teenagers. We treat the homeless at our doors with dignity and hospitality.
We invite you to join any of our parish ministries to the poor and oppressed, or to start a new one!