It’s a bit of serendipity that as we are discussing solidarity in Pope Francis’ Evangelii Gaudium, the topic arises in our examination of an earlier document from an earlier pope. Sunday, in St John Paul’s eyes, is “A day of solidarity.” Let’s read:
69. Sunday should also give the faithful an opportunity to devote themselves to works of mercy, charity and apostolate. To experience the joy of the Risen Lord deep within is to share fully the love which pulses in his heart: there is no joy without love! Jesus himself explains this, linking the “new commandment” with the gift of joy: “If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept the Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you this that my own joy may be in you and your joy may be complete. This is my commandment: that you love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 15:10-12).
The Sunday Eucharist, therefore, not only does not absolve the faithful from the duties of charity, but on the contrary commits them even more “to all the works of charity, of mercy, of apostolic outreach, by means of which it is seen that the faithful of Christ are not of this world and yet are the light of the world, giving glory to the Father in the presence of (people)”. (Sacrosanctum Concilium 9)
Two different popes, two different tones, but the vector of faith seems the same. Solidarity with those in need is inspired by the very love of Christ. The love of Christ for his people. And so, do we sit as lazy recipients, the benefactors of some spiritual entitlement program because of Exodus, Resurrection, and Baptism? Or does a sense of gratitude and mission move us forward, transforming believers into disciples of the Lord? Clearly, the mind of the Church is that solidarity gives glory to God. And Sunday is a day for that solidarity, glory, and gratitude.