Jesus, the Just One

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

“It’s not fair.” A sentence exclaimed when a person believes that have not been treated as they should. Or, in my experience, exclaimed when a person does not get what they want. When we talk about justice we seem to apply this same underlying definition. It makes sense that these two words get used interchangeably since fairness is used to define justice in the dictionary. I think in our hearts we have a better understanding of the definition of justice. Just look at the themes and titles in the Christian section of any bookstore. The major theme is God’s mercy. We all love God’s mercy. Now, God’s justice? Well, good thing we have his mercy to take care of that issue. Deep down, even when we incorrectly cry out injustice towards ourselves, our clinging to God’s mercy demonstrates our acknowledgement of what we truly deserve.  Paul writes in Romans 6:23 that “the wages of sin is death.” And so we love to hear of God’s mercy and cry foul when we are confronted with his justice.
Let’s take a step back. I think justice deserves another look. God’s justice is as desirable a virtue for us to cling to in our relationship with God as mercy. It is an attribute of himself that he calls us to desire, “He has told you, O man, what is good; 
And what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness, 
and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8) In the ministry and mission of Jesus we are given an example of justice.
In the parable of the workers in the field (Matt 20:1-16) Jesus tells of a landowner who went out to find workers to tend his field. As the day went on he gathered more workers. When it was time for everyone to get paid the ones who had been there since the morning expected to be paid more. The farmer paid everyone the same amount. Just as we might do, they became angry at being treated “unfairly” because they worked longer. The farmer reminded the workers what they agreed on for their wage and that he did not break that promise. In the same way, Jesus teaches us that his justice will never waiver. That is a priceless security. What he has promised he will do. His justice is unchanging.
We are called to show this same justice to others. Jesus shows us that everyone is worthy of being treated with the dignity in which they were created. He reached out to the lowest in society’s eyes and brought them the same gift of salvation. There are not different levels in heaven for economic classes, ethnic groups, or occupations. It is to all people he offers the gift of heaven. We are commissioned to share that same justice and invite all people to become workers in the Lord’s fields.

**This article was written for Today's Disciple (a magazine published by my parent's church in Orlando, FL: St. Mary Magdalen Catholic Church). 

No comments: