“Every person has a right to participate in social, economic, and political life and a corresponding duty to work for the advancement of the common good and the well-being of all, especially the poor and weak” (USCCB Administrative Committee, Faithful Citizenship).
I have been doing my internship at the Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach in Washington, D.C. since July 26. It is very exciting but not easy to figure out. Doing my internship here has reminded me of my class—Justice and Peace—I took at Catholic Theological Union last semester. At that time, I focused on Christian poverty which means having a commitment of being in solidarity with the poor, with those who suffer misery and injustice. Christian poverty is represented by what Jesus Christ has done for the poor.
Jesus became poor and sacrificed himself willingly for God’s love and justice. Which people and what events led to Jesus being betrayed, tortured, and killed? I cannot help but reflect on the question. The people who did these things to him were arrogant, powerful and self-sufficient people. His suffering and death were actions against oppression, exploitation and discrimination. There were, however, love, peace and justice in his resurrection.
In my reflection on his attitude towards the poor, he abandoned his authority, power and ability, and became weak, alienated and marginalized. Again, for the poor, he protested against poverty the poor and the weak suffered from. In doing so, he acted out God’s love and justice in solidarity with the poor.
My reflection reminds me again of the homeless and poor people’s situations in my experiences. What comes to my mind first is the question of why they are hidden, alienated and discriminated by what or whom. They might not have economic, social and political power because they are weak, obscure, and humble. Most of them might be hopeless or even more desperate in their lives because they are victims of unjust systems of society and inequality. Their poverty, hidden and covered up by society, is caused by an unjust social system which has provoked oppression, exploitation, and discrimination. I believe that Jesus will never want them to be restrained in that kind of shady place with injustice, oppression and alienation. Furthermore, I believe that he must want them to belong to God’s justice, love and peace.
I like my internship here. My experiences have been good so far. I still feel that everything is new to me, but I am looking forward to seeing, listening and tasting a lot more here.
Jehoon is a Columban seminarian from Korea and is studying in Chicago.