participatory and mutually supportive labour that
human beings express and enhance the dignity
of their lives. A just wage enables them to have
adequate access to all the other goods which are
destined for our common use.
Fidelity to the Gospel, lest we run in vain
193. We incarnate the duty of hearing the cry
of the poor when we are deeply moved by the
suffering of others. Let us listen to what God’s
word teaches us about mercy, and allow that word
to resound in the life of the Church. The Gospel
tells us: “Blessed are the merciful, because they
shall obtain mercy” (
5:7). The apostle James
teaches that our mercy to others will vindicate
us on the day of God’s judgment: “So speak
and so act as those who are to be judged under
the law of liberty. For judgment is without mer-
cy to one who has shown no mercy, yet mercy tri-
umphs over judgment” (
2:12-13). Here James
is faithful to the finest tradition of post-exilic
Jewish spirituality, which attributed a particular
salutary value to mercy: “Break off your sins by
practising righteousness, and your iniquities by
showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may
perhaps be a lengthening of your tranquillity”
4:27). The wisdom literature sees almsgiv-
ing as a concrete exercise of mercy towards those
in need: “Almsgiving delivers from death, and it
will purge away every sin” (
12:9). The idea is
expressed even more graphically by Sirach:
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