Solidarity: when we fight together against injustice done to others … we create a safe world for ourselves tomorrow


Solidarity: when we fight together against injustice done to others … we create a safe world for ourselves tomorrow

Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – July 14, 2024

Given the current political and social issues happening in Kenya right now, young people protesting against injustice and corruption, the readings of today are encouraging.

But first, what is the Catholic social teaching called solidarity?  Everyone has an obligation to promote the rights and development of all peoples across communities, nations, and the world, irrespective of national boundaries (

More simply we can say: …solidarity is about recognising others as our brothers and sisters and actively working for their good (

At the core of the virtue of solidarity is the pursuit of justice and peace (, to be applied at both the national and local levels, to help each of us develop into the fullness of who God created us to be: helping us overcome challenges like rejection, oppression or lack of opportunity.

In the first reading, God sent Amos to Bethel to help restore honesty and justice to the nation, to stop the exploitation of the poor by the rich and powerful.  But he is rejected by Amaziah the priest in the National Temple.  Recently, Gen-Z were called by God to Parliament to protest against unjust finance laws and other matters.  They were also rejected by the President, but they persevered and were finally accepted.

Are you surprised I said, “they were called by God?”  Why be surprised?  Gen-Z were not only exercising their Constitutional Rights; but also their Baptismal Duty to bring good news to others, to be a voice of justice and freedom for the oppressed.

In the second reading, we are reminded that each of us has been chosen by God and has great value.  This is a message of hope, encouraging us to believe in ourselves and the value of doing good for others.  Just as, in our own families, we stand up for our siblings or children, so we should do the same in a wider community level: our own survival depends on it.

In the Gospel, Jesus sends his disciples out in pairs, indicating the importance of working as a team to support, correct and become a more complete “good news” for others.  Each of us is imperfect, but when we join with others for justice and peace, we kind of correct each other.

Something of this came through the words of Pope Francis when he visited Kenya in 2015: he spoke directly to the many youths who have been hurt in their families as children:

…How can they move beyond this?” That is why families are so important. Protect the family! Defend it always. … There is only one remedy: to give what you have not received.  If you have not received understanding, then show understanding to others.  If you have not received love, then show love to others.”  [Meeting With The Young People; Kasarani Stadium, Nairobi, 27-11-2015]

Now, that is all well and good: to bring healing to others: but I’m very busy just surviving! How do we find time to be a healer?  Often, healing does require the sacrifice of time and material goods but, every day we can bring healing to many people by simply being ‘nice’ to them in our ordinary ‘busyness’.  A word of appreciation, praise or encouragement.  They are small things to say, but make a big difference in the way someone feels about themselves.

As someone said: a bad attitude is like a flat tyre on a car, you can’t go anywhere until you change it.  When we praise others, we are in solidarity with them, allowing them to grow.

It is important that Jesus sent out the disciples, two by two.  This has many benefits:
1) protection = safety in numbers;
2) encouraging = help each other when rejected;
3) self-correcting = keep each other humble and “on the right track”;
4) confirming = help each other discern: the Holy Spirit is able to defeat our pride.

Then, take “nothing with you” reminds us to trust in God’s providence, and be motivated to produce something by our dedication and sacrifice: people will respond when they see value.

Then, “do not take a spare tunic” reminds us not to impress people by how we look, but by the quality of our message and our actions.

Finally, if they are rejected, Jesus tells the disciples to “shake off the dust from under your feet as a sign to them”.  It can be a warning, but it should also be seen as a way of saying to them and to ourselves: I leave my rejection, failure and disappointment here, and I continue my mission with trust in God and peace in my heart.

In summary, God sends each of us to be good news, to be in solidarity with those who suffer oppression, rejection and lack opportunities to develop.  We do this every day by our words of encouragement but, now and then, we must sacrifice ourselves to make a loud noise, joining with others to break the chains of corruption that develop over time.

By Gerard Conlan, OMI