Our hope for you is unshaken;
for we know that as you share in our sufferings,
so also you share in our consolation.
2 Corinthians 1: 7
Sharing in others’ joys and sorrows, in their sufferings and consolation – that’s what solidarity is.
I think today’s first reading, 2 Corinthians 1: 1-7, is one of the most profound explications of what solidarity is.
Solidarity is not feeling sorry for someone. It’s not just looking at others’ pain and suffering.
No, it’s identifying ourselves with others – as Jesus totally identified Himself with us by becoming human.
When we identify with others, God helps us break the bonds of division and find real healing and reconciliation.
Pope John Paul II put it well, in his encyclical On Social Concern (Sollicituo Rei Socialis), ¶ 28:
Solidarity is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all….
Solidarity helps us to see the “other” — whether a person, people or nation — not just as some kind of instrument, with a work capacity and physical strength to be exploited at low cost and then discarded when no longer useful, but as our “neighbor,” a “helper”, to be made a sharer, on a par with ourselves, in the banquet of life to which all are equally invited by God.
We are in this together. So as Christ Jesus cast His lot with us, so we too are called to cast out lot with all the people of the world – especially those most in need.
This is the way to real peace. That is the way that brings real joy.