Thursday, November 8, 2018
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight;
I will put my Spirit on Him, and He will proclaim justice to the nations.“ – Matthew 12:18
The writer of Matthew’s Gospel draws from the imagery of the prophet Isaiah to describe the work that Christ would do. An aspect of that work was “to proclaim justice to the nations.”
What is this justice? Is it the justice of law and order enforced heavy-handedly by an authoritarian regime? Is it the justice of severe deterrence used by an emperor to cower and control a population? Is punitive justice, is it the justice of the powerful and mighty, is it the justice for the privileged and not so much for the poor?
This justice of Isaiah and the One whom He foretold is a redemptive justice, a restorative justice, a justice that seeks to bring about the enduring peace.
In law school, I learned the old British oft-used term for justice … “keeping and restoring the peace, the peace all hold in common”. Keeping the peace is not a vision of justice as controlling people with threats and fears. That is tyranny even if used in the name of God. No, keeping the peace is a matter of creating an environment and ethos in which hope is not denied.
It has always been with humanity, this justice administered through threats and fear, deterrence and punishment. But of late, I have become sensitive that the conjuring of fears and the casting of threats is becoming more and more the sole definition justice. And such a definition is imbalanced and distorted for it lacks the quality of mercy that is always part and parcel of the justice of God.
So, my Loved Ones, if you desire justice then you must also desire mercy.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz