Someday I’m going to write a book that brings together liturgy and Catholic social teaching. I know it would not be the first one, but it might be the first one to offer this as its overarching theme: solidarity. Both the liturgy and Catholic social teaching are about solidarity — God’s solidarity with us and our solidarity with one another. This dual solidarity happens sacramentally in the liturgy and it is lived out concretely in the ethical call described in Catholic social teaching. From first to last and bottom to top, Christian living is about solidarity (and that dual nature — God with us and us with one another — can never be forgotten).
I mention this because for several years now I’ve found myself thinking of the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord — today — as a feast of solidarity. We celebrate this solidarity today. The emphasis here is God’s solidarity with us, but the Incarnation — as Pope John Paul II tirelessly pointed out — bears many important implications for the way we understand our relationships with one another.
We could list principle after principle of Catholic social teaching — human dignity, human rights, the preferential option for the poor, and the central place of love in that teaching that first Benedict XVI and now Francis have insisted upon — that can easily be understood as rooted in the mystery of the Incarnation that we celebration on this Annunciation day.
Lots more to be said about this, but I have several freelance assignments that are calling for my time during early mornings this week … and then there’s that John Courtney Murray project that needs wrapped up … and I should save it all for that other book someday anyway. In the meantime, one great place that comes to mind as fitting for further reflection on this topic today would be John Paul II’s first encyclical, Redemptor Hominis.
So happy and blessed Solemnity today! No fasting going on this blessed day. Back to Lent tomorrow.