The Jubilee of hope and social justice

Hope is not a futile optimism, but a gift of grace in the realism of life

Vatican News

Pope Francis has published the Bull of Convocation of the Jubilee 2025, Spes non confundit (SNC, hope does not disappoint), recalling its meaning, as it appears in the Word of God. That is, to be a sign of hope, sustained in faith and exercised by charity (brotherly love), which promotes justice with the poor, the victims, and the excluded (Luke 4:18-19); a social justice, liberating and comprehensive from all inequality, injustice, slavery, usury, and evil (SNC 10-16). Indeed, as biblical and theological studies together with philosophy or the human sciences show us, the reality of social justice, which is also taught by the teaching profession, the church with its morals (DSI), is based on Holy Scripture. Such as the Event of the Exodus, the Wisdom Books, the Prophets, the Gospel of Jesus, the Pauline, Johannine Writings, or the Letter of James.

God himself is (our) Justice (Jer 33, 16) and he gives it to us so that we accept it, transmit it, and put it into practice, promoting a more just, equitable, and fraternal world. This gift of justice, which sanctifies us and frees us from evil and injustice, always chooses the defense of life, and dignity and liberating and integral promotion with the poor of the earth and the victims of history (Ps 82, 3; Is 1, 17). He is the God of life, mercy, and liberating justice with the poor, who wants to establish a Covenant and Promise with the people for a life of holiness, compassionate fidelity, and justice. Therefore, as these biblical and prophetic books make visible, authentic worship (Is 58) and knowledge of God (Jer 22:6) are inseparably linked to the praxis of liberating justice with others, with the poor and the victims.

This Revelation of God culminates in the Incarnation and Gospel of Jesus Christ (SNC 17) who, together with his mother Mary (Lk 1, 46-55), calls us first (Mt 6, 24-34) to seek the Kingdom of God and his justice with the poor, the hungry and the oppressed. In the face of sin, selfishness and idols of wealth-being rich, power and violence (Lk 6, 20-35). The Grace of the Love of God, which is welcomed in the fraternity of solidarity and justice with the poor, the real presence and crucified Christ, is the decisive (definitive) criterion for full-eternal salvation (Mt 25, 31-46). Collecting all this biblical and theological teaching, the Synod of Bishops of 1971, dedicated to this essential and indispensable reality, communicates to us that “action in favor of justice and participation in the transformation of the world is clearly presented to us as a constitutive dimension of the preaching of the Gospel. That is, the mission of the Church for the redemption of the human race and the liberation from every oppressive situation.”

In this way, in the very mission of the church faithful to Jesus, we find this coherent commitment that “realizes social justice” with the poor, with the workers and those exploited by injustice in the world. Just as, so prophetically, Saint John Paul II teaches in his first social encyclical on work (LE 8; 11-15). The church continues to transmit to us this holy Pope, deepening the teaching of Pius Already in the Quadragesimo anno it was said: “in fact, when the class struggle abstains from acts of violence and mutual hatred, it gradually transforms into an honest discussion, founded on the search for justice” (CA 14). It is observed, therefore, how the DSI with its fraternal and integral anthropology, always connects freedom with social justice, democratic participation with equality, solidarity and subsidiarity, the most universal common good and non-violence that lead to peace. Opposing, therefore, all the totalitarianism and injustices of neoliberalism, capitalism, collectivist communism, fascism or other fundamentalism, which dissociate these anthropological and ethical connections.

Social justice, already clearly transmitted and witnessed by the Tradition of the Church with the Holy Fathers, assumes (condenses) the types of general and distributive justice, united to the principle of the common good, which Saint Thomas Aquinas also teaches us. As Francis conveys, “echoing the ancient word of the prophets, the Jubilee reminds us that the goods of the earth are not intended for a privileged few, but for all” (SNC 16). The dignified and historical conditions with the rights for integral human development, which make up the common good promoted by the key virtue of solidarity, cannot be separated from the universal destination of goods, the fair distribution of resources, which as a principle is above property (LE 14).

Hence, continuing with this tradition of social justice inspired by faith, the Pope affirms: I once again make my own and propose to everyone some words of Saint John Paul II, whose forcefulness perhaps has not been noticed: God has given the earth to the entire human race so that it sustains all its inhabitants, without excluding anyone or privileging anyone. Along these lines, I remember that “the Christian tradition never recognized the right to private property as absolute or untouchable, and underlined the social function of any form of private property.” The principle of the common use of goods created for all is the “first principle of the entire ethical-social order”, it is a natural, original and priority right” (FT 120).

Reaffirming this meaning of the Jubilee that brings peace together with social justice, Francis calls us to put an end to the evil of wars and military industry with its armaments (SNC 8) and of usury and injustices of debts (such as external ones). ; whose goods and resources must be allocated to the comprehensive development of these most impoverished peoples (SNC 15). It is about ending this culture of death and discarding as prisoners, the elderly or migrants suffer, preventing the life of these discarded social groups, of children, suffocating the birth rate, of families and of planet Earth (SNC 9-15). All of this goes against the human and integral ecology, key to the DSI with Popes such as Saint John Paul II, Benedict XVI and Francis. True solidarity and social justice, we point out, protectors of decent work, with its social rights, such as a fair salary for the worker and his family, which has priority over capital, comes before profit, profit and profit. (LE 12-13). This social justice with decent work, especially, is very important for the future and hope of young people (SNC 12).

We see how all these signs of justice and hope, brought to us by the Kingdom of the Trinitarian God manifested in Christ and consolidated by the Councils such as that of Nicaea (SNC 17), open us to “I believe in eternal life.” This is what our faith professes, and Christian hope finds a fundamental basis in these words. Hope, in fact, “is the theological virtue by which we aspire […] to eternal life as our happiness”” (SNC 19). A justice and hope, in the Crucified-Resurrected Christ, who has already defeated all injustice, evil and death, witnessed by the saints and martyrs (SNC 20). And that “finds in the Mother of God his highest testimony of her. In it, we see that hope is not a futile optimism, but a gift of grace in the realism of life” (SNC 24).