R15 Social rights and responsibilities

Each person, however poor, has a right to live with dignity and to have their basic social and economic needs met. People should have access to water, sanitation, housing and food, however basic. Our governments have a responsibility to ensure that these basic human rights are available to all their people.

As community members, we have a joint responsibility to make sure that certain people or groups of people are not ignored. People with disabilities, those with serious illnesses or very old people are often easy to overlook, but their need for support is very considerable.

Jesus encouraged the sharing of material possessions to ensure that each person had enough to live. In the book of Acts, we see this happening in wonderful ways in the early church, as people shared what they had. Often one person’s generosity will encourage others to share.

  • Read John 6:1-15. This is a very well known Bible story of an amazing miracle that Jesus did to provide enough food for 5000 people. What were the concerns that the disciples raised with Jesus? Were the people who had followed Jesus concerned?
  • We read about the boy who had brought his own food in verse 9. Discuss what might have encouraged him to let Jesus take his food?
  • The willingness of the young boy to let Jesus take his food meant that 5,000 other people were fed. We are often overwhelmed by the size of the needs around us. This story is a wonderful reminder of how God can use a little faith to bring huge results. When we share the little we have with others, God may bless this beyond our expectations. Are there ways in which we could put this into practice in our own lives?
  • How effective is our government in meeting the needs of the poorest groups in our country? Are there minorities who lack support? Can we put pressure on organisations or the government to help meet their needs?

Articles 3, 22, 25, 29 UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights