The president of the Bishops’ Conference of Chile, Bishop Alejandro Goic, called on Chileans this week to live out solidarity following the example of St. Alberto Hurtado. “Living out charity and promoting social justice,” he entreated, are “vital and indispensable consequences of following Christ.”
During Mass at the Shrine of Father Hurtado, the bishop said solidarity with those most in need “should not be limited to campaign slogans or to a sort of ‘social tourism’ in which we occasionally spend some time with the poor.”
“Authentic solidarity implies two dimensions: on the one hand, human love and mercy, compassion and tenderness, especially towards those who suffer most; and on the other, the necessary search for the transformation of social, political and economic conditions through the responsible exercise of our rights and duties as citizens,” the bishop said. “Because, in the words of St. James, faith without works is dead,” he added.
Bishop Goic taught that solidarity is learned at home, cultivated in schools and applied at work. “Solidarity cannot flower for just one day, be a passing fad or sensibility limited to certain dates, certain campaigns, tragedies or disasters,” he said.
In this sense, he said St. Alberto Hurtado understood the words of Christ, who calls us to act like the Samaritan. “The Church has recognized in this Chilean priest of the Society of Jesus a holy manner of seeing Christ in the poor,” he stated.
“St. Alberto understood well that giving is more than just opening one’s wallet, because he felt the concern of the Samaritan who looked suffering in the eyes. It would have been easier for him to have paid for the service: with his money another could have cured and accompanied the wounded man. But the Samaritan wanted to wash and cure the wounds with his own hands. He wanted to stay and take responsibility for his brother,” Bishop Goic said.
He called on Chileans to pray that Christ “will widen our hearts and that, through the intercession of our mother, Mary, he will help us to put ourselves in the shoes of those who suffer, to alleviate their pain and take responsibility for curing all of their wounds.”