Love perfects Justice
Saturday, March 11, 2017 First Week of Lent First Reading: Dt 26:16-19Gospel Reading: Mt 5:43-48
Jesus said to his disciples, “You have heard that it was said: Love your neighbor and do not do good to your enemy. But this I tell you: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on both the wicked and the good, and he gives rain to both the just and the unjust.
“If you love those who love you, what is special about that? Do not even tax collectors do as much? And if you are friendly only to your friends, what is so exceptional about that? Do not even the pagans do as much? For your part you shall be righteous and perfect in the way your heavenly Father is righteous and perfect.”
(Daily Gospel in the
In a very rare occasion of prayer a man came to the Lord and asked, “Lord, why are you asking me to love my enemies when I don’t even have time for my friends? The Lord replied, “You see, you have no time for your enemies, not even for your friends. You never even have time for me except when it is time to complain. What did I give you your heart for?”
The law of love binds us to all types of people, even to our enemies. God took this law seriously when he imposed it upon himself by sacrificing his own Son. He did so even at the expense of justice under which humanity was supposed to be damned for turning against its creator. In so doing God also went against himself – he who is “the habitation of justice” (Jeremiah 50:7).
Has love abolished justice? Consider how Jesus reacted when a soldier slapped him on his face while the High Priest interrogated him (John 18:19-23) during his trial. Surprisingly Jesus did not turn the other cheek. Instead he protested: “But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?” (John 18:23). Even the author of love sought justice for himself.
The search for love and justice can happen simultaneously. The reason why both appear incompatible to us is that our thirst for justice leans more towards vengeance. The kind of justice that God is leans more towards love, for God is love. When God imposed the law of love upon himself by giving up his Son he did not do violence to justice but perfected it.
Justice perfected by love is the justice contemplated in the phrase “justice and peace shall kiss” (Psalm 85:10). Here lies the difference between the justice Christians search for and the justice understood by some other religions. “They’ll know we are Christians by our love” (John 13:35).
The law of love truly binds all, including those searching for justice. –(Atty.) Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM.
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