Why, as a Young Catholic, my Meaning of ‘Justice and Peace’ is Love

By AnnaElisa Huynh

AnnaElisa is on an intern placement with Caritas Westminster and has been visiting a number projects around the Diocese. She spent an afternoon (online!) with Westminster Justice & Peace as part of her placement and here she shares some reflections on her learning.

With an ongoing war in Ukraine and a resulting refugee and human rights crisis, I often hear the terms “justice” and “peace,” but I rarely hear them in the context of love. As a young Catholic, I believe love is the link between justice, peace, and the urgent need for both in our present society. The idea of love for all in society was advocated by Jesus Christ in the Bible verse: “The second is this: love your neighbour as yourself. No other commandment is greater than these.” – Mark 12:31. Within this commandment, I find the meaning of justice and peace and the calling to promote these ideas in our world today. 

The root of justice is the equality of love: if we must love our neighbour as ourselves, then everyone must be treated with equal dignity, respect, and kindness. Furthermore, each of us, as God’s children, must be given an equal opportunity to fully live our lives and participate in society. Thus, the struggle for justice is the struggle to ensure that we love each of our neighbours equally so that we are able to live the life God intended for us.

Peace, in light of Jesus’s commandment, is more than the absence of violence. Peace comes from knowing you are loved, valued, and cared for by God and others around you. Peace comes from the harmony and solidarity of an entire community helping each member to achieve a state of value and well-being through loving and caring for each other. In this way, the struggle for justice is working for peace for all of us, and striving for us to love each of our neighbours equally.