Each week we let Saint Pope John Paul II share meaningful signposts to spark socio-economic resolves through justice and righteousness combined with mercy and compassion; in short, love.

The Vatican January 2003 |It is challenging to build a culture of solidarity. Is it a human paradox that the world’s spirit affects our inner propensity to give ourselves unselfishly to others? Rooted in the depths of the human heart, every person is conscious of a desire to interact with others. Everyone finds fulfillment in a gift of self to others.

               35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'” (Acts 20: 35 New International Version NIV).

Yet, who doesn’t grab and keep more than one needs? Indeed, it is natural and right that people should obtain what they need to live by using their gifts and labor. But an excessive desire for possessions prevents human beings from being open to their Creator and their brothers and sisters.

               10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Timothy 6: 10 NIV).

The 1) exploitation of others, 2) indifference towards our brothers and sisters’ suffering and 3) the violation of fundamental moral rules are just a few fruits of the thirst for gain.

The quest for profit at any cost and the lack of compelling, responsible concern for the common good have concentrated immense resources in the hands of a few. At the same time, the rest of humanity suffers from poverty and neglect.

Our goal should not be to benefit a privileged few but rather to improve all living conditions. Only on this foundation, we hope to build that international order marked by justice and solidarity.

I call on believers to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, who, in perfect obedience to the will of the Father, emptied himself (Philippians 2: 6) and humbly gave himself to us in selfless and total love, even unto death on a cross.

The love of God poured into our hearts ought to inspire and transform who we are and what we do. Giving oneself to others is itself a gift that comes from the grace of God.

               13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2: 13 NIV).

Excerpted from:

The Message of His Holiness, John Paul II, Lent 2003, The Vatican, 7 January 2003.