If you google “best kept secret” and “Catholic Church,”
you’ll get over two
million results in a couple of seconds.
And they’re not about
Or the inquisition.
Our church’s best-kept secret is our Social
It all started with
Today’s Gospel tells us
that people were astonished with Jesus’
because he taught them on his own authority.
And nothing has
It doesn’t matter what our lifestyle is,
as Paul tells the
No matter where or how we live,
we are to be free from
and give our undivided attention to God.
When we do that,
find ourselves practicing these principles
that we now call Catholic Social
Those principles come from
Jesus’ vision of peace and justice:
Love your neighbor.
speak of the rights and dignity of the human person:
that all people are
and have a right to be free of war and oppression,
We have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
as our U.S. Constitution tells us.
Jesus preached it two
millennia before we even had a country.
So no war, no capital
and no discrimination
on the basis of race, gender, color,
When we walk the walk, it means we choose peace.
We smile at
We socialize with people who are different from us.
out when we see injustice.
the call to family, community, and participation:
that people have a right
and a duty to participate in society,
seeking together the common good and
well-being of all,
especially the poor and vulnerable.
So we study the
candidates and issues on the ballot,
and we vote our conscience.
an eye out for injustice
and call it to the attention
of people who have
the power to change it.
We write letters to the editor and letters to our
and we send thanks to officeholders who do the right
especially on issues that affect the
Our Catholic tradition calls
for rights and responsibilities,
that every person has a fundamental
to life and to those things required for human decency,
corresponding duties and responsibilities to one another,
and to the larger
For us, a basic moral
is how our most vulnerable members are doing.
a “preferential option” for the poor and vulnerable.
cannot rest in comfort
if the poor are deprived of their basic needs.
we donate to soup kitchens.
We tutor in the inner city.
We take part in
the Compassionate Community Challenge.
We send a bit of cash to Haiti or New
We cut back on our wants
so that we have more to give for someone
And for us Catholics
there can be no argument about worker rights.
We believe that the dignity of
work is a God-given right,
so people have basic rights to productive
to decent and fair wages,
to organize and join unions,
and to private property.
So we don’t shop at stores
that pay substandard wages.
We tell our legislators we want a fair minimum
We buy Fair Trade coffee and tea.
We boycott with FLOC for better
right from the get-go with Cain and Abel in Genesis,
that we are
our brothers' and sisters' keepers.
We are one human family,
practice the virtue of solidarity
no matter what national, racial, ethnic,
and ideological differences we may have.
We must love one
another, even our obstreperous families.
So we get in a Dialogue-to-Change
and have honest conversations with people of another race
so we can
learn how to get along better.
We work at carrying on a civil
with Great Aunt Millie
even though she’s a right-wing
or a left-wing whacko.
We learn about the minorities in our
and go out of our way
to see that they are welcomed and treated
If we’re in the minority,
we let the majority know
stray from their responsibility
to be in solidarity with us.
We get to
know our neighbors,
and if our neighbors all look like us,
go out of our way
to make friends with people who are
Finally, care for our
as we are doing at Holy Spirit with our Tree Toledo project,
requirement of our being Catholic.
It’s not just an Earth Day slogan;
is a requirement of our faith.
As Catholics, we know that we cannot
the fundamental moral and ethical dimensions
of the environmental
challenge we face.
Catholic Social Teaching
insists that we have the right,
and also the responsibility,
to speak to
issues that affect the right to life
and that assure that all persons live
These principles are so powerful, challenging, and
that if we shared this “best-kept secret,”
if we practiced what
we would turn society upside-down
But we find, as Jesus did,
that some people don’t want the world to
Love of neighbor is a dangerous
When we decided to read and
discuss Diarmuid O’Murchu’s book,
Christianity’s Dangerous Memory,
found that one of the local Catholic bookstores
would not stock it on their
a symptom of their fear of what happens
when people look at
and embrace the message and vision of Jesus.
Looking at the world
speaking the truth about it,
and preaching love
is what got
We claim to be
Christians—followers of Christ.
We share in Christ’s role as prophets, by our
So we must—all of us, not just priests—
we all must preach the
and our first reading today
clearly tells us
that we must
practice what we preach.
tells us that Jesus taught with authority.
As Jesus’ followers,
prophets called by baptism,
we are called to teach with authority;
preach the vision;
and to practice what we preach.
The secret is
Let’s do it!
Holy Spirit Catholic Community
Executive Parkway (Unity of Toledo)
Saturdays at 4:30 p.m.
Sundays at 5:30
Rev. Dr. Bev Bingle,