Common Good

Common Good is defined as “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or individuals, to reach their fulfillment more fully and more easily”.
Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra
Contemporary western culture places a strong emphasis on individualism, and very little emphasis on community. The fact is we are social beings, dependent on other people from the time we were conceived. We depend on our parents and family to raise us, teachers to educate us, farmers for our food, employers for jobs, priests and religious for spiritual development, doctors, nurses and other professional for our well-being. Likewise, other people depend on us for their existence and well-being. We do not live on an island focused only on ourselves detached from the rest of humanity.
It is difficult for us as Americans in 2018 to embrace the common good. We have been programmed to believe the myth that it is a “dog eat dog world”, where only the “fittest will survive;” and in sports or business, we must do “whatever it takes to win;” and in our consumer driven economy, “whoever dies with the most toys, wins.”
Jesus shows us that there is a very different Way for us to live in community. He calls us to see the goodness in others; to recognize that all of humanity are connected as brothers and sisters who are loved by God; and to follow the Way of Jesus by being merciful and compassionate to others, especially to the poor and those who are ignored or neglected by society.
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you should also love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”. 
John 13:34-35
Here are some questions that really challenge our reality:
  • Do our social structures enable everyone to enjoy the basic things necessary to reach their fulfillment?
  • If not, what can I do to help ensure everyone has clean air and water, adequate nutrition, housing, quality education, health care and work that earns a living wage?
  • Where can I learn more on how to love one another?
You have created us to flourish in community, God of all, and to recognize that in helping our neighbors, we move to our own fulfillment. In this time, when we see so many being visibly violent toward their brothers and sisters, or being violent in a more subtle way by ignoring the sufferings of our sisters and brothers, move us to recognize the common home we share, the common goals we have, the common end we are all made for. Guide us to work for the common good of our society and the common good of our global community.  
Center for Concern