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Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus

December 18th, 2012by Deacon Royce Winters

In the Excerpt from “In the Footsteps of Jesus: Catholic Social Teaching at Work Today,”  it states, “Charity and justice are incomplete without each other; they are two sides of the same coin.  Charity calls forth a generous response from individuals; justice requires concerted communal action to transform institutional policies, societal laws, or unjust social situations.”

 

As the disciples accosted a woman for pouring expensive oil over the head Jesus, thinking that she has wasted precious oil that could have been sold to help the poor.  Jesus said to them, “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me.”  These words seem harsh even today.  But, they have provided me purpose for living the journey of faith.  It is because that I’ve been baptized; because I have been saved, forgiven and blessed that I do the works of charity of justice.  

As I drive past men and women who stand on street corners holding cardboard signs, asking for money what should be my response?  As I walk the streets of downtown and people ask for money, what should I do?  Well sometimes, I do nothing.  But what’s tragic is that in doing nothing, I also say to myself, “they will not use the money for good anyway.” And, that it is what strikes at me daily.  Each day and every day, Jesus is saying, I am here.  I am in your midst, do you know me.  If you know me, you will treat every person with dignity because I, the Lord, created them.  It is in responding to needs of others – that as we act out our belief that Jesus is Risen from the dead, the reign of God is made present to us and in the world. 

 

If I can ever get to a point where being charitable is not something I do but who I am, I can then begin in earnest to do justice and seek peace.  And maybe, just maybe will walk together hand and hand as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Photo credit: Used under Creative Commons Licensing, flickr.com/rubybgold

Deacon Royce Winters

Deacon Royce Winters is the director of African American Catholic Ministries for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. He has been married for 36 years and his wife, children and grandchildren all attend Church of the Resurrection in Bond Hill.