Melanie Lamarca, Youth Speak News

Called to be global citizens

By  Melanie Lamarca, Youth Speak News
  • October 23, 2015

Oct. 24 is United Nations Day and I think it’s time to make a real change.

We must broaden our vision to seek change for the common good. We can’t focus solely on the changes that will benefit Canadians. As Catholics, we are called to be instruments of God’s love. But not just for the people in our immediate life. We must extend our love to our brothers and sisters who may be an ocean apart, or to our wounded Earth which cannot speak for itself.

We must put pressure on our government to commit to world change. We must challenge our government to follow the leadership of 193 other world leaders who have committed to the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development campaign.

In a nutshell, the Global Goals for Sustainable Development is a campaign focused on the achievement of 17 goals, created in the hopes of solving three global issues within the next 15 years. These three global issues are to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change.

As a community of Catholics, we are called to be global citizens and serve the common good. We must look at the three global issues and ask ourselves how we can contribute.

In Matthew 25:35, Jesus says, “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited me in.” He calls us to answer our call to service by feeding the hungry, quenching the thirst of the thirsty and extending our kindness to those we do not know personally.

We must seek to support charities that aim to evenly distribute resources around the world. For the hunger and thirst of our brothers and sisters an ocean away is still our hunger and our thirst. And beyond food, water and good health lies education. Education is another basic human right that should be delivered to all.

Where students in developed countries are granted the luxury of accessible education, many people in developing countries are not. The more educated our brothers and sisters are, the more resistant they are to the cycle of poverty.

In addition to fighting extreme poverty, we must combat the issue of inequality and injustice. This global issue focuses on equity and the creation of a fair society. As Catholics, we should strive to achieve equality amongst men and women. It is part of our teaching to protect human dignity. We should continue to empower women by respecting their gifts and right to fair treatment. In doing so our generation may be the first to see equality and empowerment in every way, shape or form.

But we are not limited to just helping the people on our Earth. We must help the Earth, as well. The Global Goals campaign also aims to fix climate change, which I think is quite fitting considering the recent release of Pope Francis’s environmental encyclical. Laudato Si’ raises awareness on the importance of fighting climate change and the care for our common home.

As Catholics, it is our duty to care for God’s gift. We need to leave a better world for future generations. God calls us to leadership through service. The creation of these Global Goals is realistic way of creating a better tomorrow. The campaign gives us a sense of direction that will lead us to solving three major issues. As Mother Teresa famously said, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

As a community of faith, we must act in solidarity to create world change. Being an instrument of God’s peace is a promoted value amongst the Catholic community, extending itself to promoting God’s love on the world stage.

(Lamarca, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. John Paul II Secondary School in Toronto, Ont.)

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