Sunday, January 12, 2014

Thought From The First Reading

From Isaiah 42:

Thus says the LORD:
Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
upon whom I have put my spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
a bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
to open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

The reading mentions "justice" a couple of times. It's weird how much of its meaning that word has lost over the years. These days, when we hear about "justice," it's a completely temporal concept. Justice, that idea of "rendering to someone what they are due," is almost strictly used in talking about what one person owes to another. There is nothing about what man owes to God or what God will render to man for what he is due.

This has a couple of negative effects.

First, it dilutes not only the meaning of justice but charity as well to reduce our duties to our fellow man to those of justice alone.

Second, it ignores the justice more commonly spoken of in the Scriptures, such as that spoken of in Romans 2:5-8 :

But according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou treasurest up to thyself wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the just judgment of God. Who will render to every man according to his works. To them indeed, who according to patience in good work, seek glory and honour and incorruption, eternal life: But to them that are contentious, and who obey not the truth, but give credit to iniquity, wrath and indignation.

There has been a loss in the sense of Divine Justice and how we will all be accountable to it. This isn't to say that justice for our brothers and sisters isn't significant. It is. It just isn't primary, despite the efforts of so many to make it so.

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