Sixth Day of Lent
“And why do you not judge for yourselves what is right? Thus, when you go with your accuser before a magistrate, on the way make an effort to settle the case, for you may be dragged before the judge, and the judge hand you over to the officer, and the officer throw you in prison. I tell you, you will never get out until you have paid the very last penny.” – Luke 12:57-59
In “Justice Christianus” is better that settle a case out of court for it is not the judgment and sentencing which is the ultimate concern but the resolution, the restitution, and the reconciliation.
I find we live in a world obsessed with punitive justice. It is as if we relish the act of punishing others. Though this harsh, punitive stand is for the purpose of deterrence, I find the world is no more just because of it. Little is resolved, few are reconciled, and the repentance is but occasionally accomplished. But still … we foolishly believe … that in the punishment full justice is achieved. No, in the jurisprudence of “Justice Christianus” the matters of resolution, restitution, and reconciliation are paramount.
Mercy is not the opposite of justice, but rather mercy is an agency of perfect justice. Mercy seeks to deal with the transgression without destroying the transgressor. Mercy seeks to be the means by which the reconciling and restoring elements of justice can be achieved. Merciful justice is the moving beyond mere punishment into the further realm of repentance.
To settle a case is to reach a just resolution before judgment day. We understand this in our spiritual practice of confession and repentance prior to Judgment Day. The sense of Divine Justice is not at its heart to punish, but rather to make right. This is what makes Divine Justice and “Justice Christianus” righteous … it makes things right.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz