The Justice of the Kingdom of God
Excerpts from teh Holy Father's Homily in Cuba, Jan. 25, 1998
By Pope John Paul II
..The ideological and economic systems succeeding one another in the last two centuries have often encouraged conflict as a method since their programs contained the seeds of opposition and disunity. This fact profoundly affected their understanding of man and of his relations with others. Some of these systems also presumed to relegate religion to the merely private sphere, stripping it of any social influence or importance. The state.should encourage a harmonious social climate and a suitable legislation which enables every person and every religious confession to live their faith freely, to express that faith in the context of public life and to count on adequate resources and opportunities to bring its spiritual, moral and civic benefits to bear on the life of the nation.
On the other hand, various places are witnessing the resurgence of a certain capitalist neo-liberalism which subordinates the human person to blind market forces and conditions the development of peoples on those forces. From its centres of power, such neo-liberalism often places unbearable burdens upon less-favoured countries. Hence, at times, unsustainable economic programs are imposed on nations as a condition for further assistance. In the international community we thus see a small number of countries growing exceedingly rich at the cost of the increasing impoverishment of a great number of other countries; as a result the wealthy grow ever wealthier, while the poor grow ever poorer.
Dear brothers and sisters: The Church is a teacher in humanity. Faced with these systems, she presents a culture of love and of life, restoring hope to humanity, hope in the transforming power of love lived in the unity willed by Christ. For this to happen, it is necessary to follow a path of reconciliation, dialogue and fraternal acceptance of one.s neighbour, of every human person.
The Church, in carrying out her mission, sets before the world a new justice, the justice of the kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33). On various occasions I have spoken on social themes. It is necessary to keep speaking on these themes as long as any injustice, however small, is present in the world; otherwise the Church would not be faithful to the mission entrusted to her by Christ.
On the threshold of the year 2000, the teachings of Jesus maintain their full force. They are valid for all of you, dear brothers and sisters. In seeking the justice of the kingdom we cannot hesitate in the face of difficulties and misunderstandings. If the Master.s call to justice, to service and to love is accepted as good news, then the heart is expanded, criteria are transformed and a culture of love and life is born.