Pray for unity and justice for all

January 28, 2008

by Father Pat Casey, St. John's Catholic Church, Darwin

The week of Jan. 18-25 was the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

I am going to share from the daily Scripture and Prayer Guide of 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity - day 4, Pray always for justice (1 Thes. 5:15)

The following scripture passages, Exodus 3:1-12, Psalms 146, 1 Thessalonians 5:12a and 13b-18, and Matthew 5:38-42 speak of justice.

Together, as God’s people, we are called to pray for justice. God hears the cry of the oppressed, the needy, the orphan, and the widow. He is a God of justice and answers with His Son, Jesus Christ, who commands us to work together in unity through peace, and not through violence.

Christians must pray without ceasing for justice, that all people will be treated with dignity and given a fair share in this world.

In the United States of America, the injustice of the slavery of Africans ended only with a bloodletting civil war and a century of state-sponsored racism. Sadly, racism and other forms of bigotry still linger in American life.

Yet it was through the efforts of the churches, particularly the African-American churches and their ecumenical partners, and most especially through the nonviolent resistance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, that civil rights for all were enshrined in American law.

King’s deep-rooted conviction that only Christlike love truly conquers hate and brings about the transformation of society continues to inspire Christians to work for justice. It is fitting that Dr. King’s birthday fell within the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year.

Jesus reminds us that God’s justice is embodied in His own willingness to sacrifice His own security, power, prestige, and His very life to bring to our world the justice and reconciliation through which all human beings are treated as equal in worth and dignity.

Let us pray – “Lord God, you created humanity, male and female, in the divine image. May we pray without ceasing and with one mind and heart that those who are hungry in our world will be nourished, that those who are oppressed will be freed, that all human persons will be treated with dignity. May we be your instruments in making this yearning a reality, We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”