Wednesday, September 4, 2013
The second analytical index entry for “Law” in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church points to no. 24. This appears in chapter one (“God’s Plan of Love for Humanity”), section I (“God’s Liberating Action in the History of Israel”), subsection a (“God’s gratuitous presence”). Among other things, no. 24 points to two examples of divine positive law, “legislation … designed to ensure that the salvific event of the Exodus and fidelity to the Covenant represents not only the founding principle of Israel's social, political and economic life, but also the principle for dealing with questions concerning economic poverty and social injustices”:
24. Among the many norms which tend to give concrete expression to the style of gratuitousness and sharing in justice which God inspires, the law of the sabbatical year (celebrated every seven years) and that of the jubilee year (celebrated every fifty years)  stand out as important guidelines — unfortunately never fully put into effect historically — for the social and economic life of the people of Israel. Besides requiring fields to lie fallow, these laws call for the cancellation of debts and a general release of persons and goods: everyone is free to return to his family of origin and to regain possession of his birthright.
This legislation is designed to ensure that the salvific event of the Exodus and fidelity to the Covenant represents not only the founding principle of Israel's social, political and economic life, but also the principle for dealing with questions concerning economic poverty and social injustices. This principle is invoked in order to transform, continuously and from within, the life of the people of the Covenant, so that this life will correspond to God's plan. To eliminate the discrimination and economic inequalities caused by socio-economic changes, every seven years the memory of the Exodus and the Covenant are translated into social and juridical terms, in order to bring the concepts of property, debts, loans and goods back to their deepest meaning.
 These laws are found in Ex 23, Deut 15, Lev 25.