When Jesus asked the samaritan woman for a glass of water, she was astounded. Here was Jesus, violating gender and race barriers. She couldn’t believe this was happening! Jesus was modeling new patterns of inclusive relationships; He was defining our normal way of life. Jesus knew that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. He was here to serve all people, not exploit or discriminate. Jesus, by His action demonstrated that the practice of justice is at the very heart of spiritual living.
Injustice and oppression based on race, caste, gender and economic status are hardly new. The quest for justice, therefore, should be an integral part of spiritual life. This quest begins with a wide field reflection, and critique of all forms of unjust structures, culminating in a struggle to overcome them.
The promotion of social justice is an integral part of Christian faith. Therefore, we must pause and reflect on how issues of justice have traditionally been handled within spirituality. We also ought to acknowledge and question ways in which society and the Church have created structures undermining the full human dignity of certain sections of people. Our experience of God must critique promotion of elitism and a tendency to excessive interiority. After all, spirituality encompasses spirituality of a people rather than individuals in isolation.
How do we move forward? God is the creator of all, graciously forgiving God’s example should prevent roots of pride and prejudice from sprouting and rendering our relationships toxic.
The life and words of Jesus, in the midst of injustice around Him, set a benchmark for His followers. How well are we imitating His example and following His ways of justice and love? Our love for God should motivate us to engage in issues of social justice; an integral part of spiritual living.