Christ’s life of solidarity

This quick canter across the territory of Catholic Social Teaching is all very well and good, but so far you’ve only had one reference to Jesus of Nazareth. If we cannot relate the concept of solidarity to him, then we may be seen to be substituting something else – philosophical speculation or whatever – for the Gospel. Yet I would argue that one of the best possible summaries of what Jesus was about is the single word, ‘Solidarity’. Fundamental to this is the nature of solidarity as, firstly, a movement of the Spirit, a recognition of the other as brother or sister, as a child of God with inalienable dignity and value; secondly, a reaching out to affirm, to support and to receive from the other, a taking of risks in the light of this underlying belief and insight.

Consider these words of Jesus: his Synagogue sermon at Nazareth, the prologue to his ministry in Luke’s Gospel, quoting Isaiah 61.1f (“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.” – Lk 4.18f); or his self-description in Mk 10.45 (“For the Son of man himself came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many”); or the anticipation of his death in Jn 15.13 (“No one can have greater love than to lay down his life for his friends.”)