I am saddened that some who love the liturgy and love the church and care deeply about the injustice that plagues our world today still believe liturgy has no connection to justice. Some of them say things like, “Liturgy is for praising God. It’s not about justice or preaching about current events.” Some will say Mass is my time to get away from the problems of the world and just be with God. Some of these very good Christians who have been active in their church for many years are genuinely surprised that there is any connection at all between what we do at Mass and justice in the world.
And yet right relationship and right worship must go hand in hand, for they are prerequisites of the other.
Have we forgotten Amos?
I hate, I despise your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemnities. Even though you bring me your burnt offerings and grain offerings I will not accept them;…Rather let justice surge like waters, and righteousness like an unfailing stream. (Amos 5:21-22, 24)
When you spread out your hands, I will close my eyes to you; Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood! Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan’s plea, defend the widow. (Isaiah 1:15-17)
Or Saint John Paul II?
We cannot delude ourselves: by our mutual love and, in particular, by our concern for those in need we will be recognized as true followers of Christ. This will be the criterion by which the authenticity of our Eucharistic celebrations is judged. (Mane nobiscum Domine, 28)
Or even the Catechism of the Catholic Church?
The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the poorest, his brethren. (1397)
We cannot separate praising God and doing justice. We praise God by doing justice: “Go, glorify God by your lives.” We do justice by praising God: “Lift up your hearts. It is right and just.”