The Good News for the day, June 14, 2017
Wednesday of the Tenth Week of Ordinary Time (361)
Jesus says to His followers and friends: “Do not think I am here to eliminate Law and Order–and the Prophets. I have not come to get rid of them, but to explain them. What I say is true: till the end of the world as we know it, no tiny letter or part of a letter of our tradition disappears until everything gets to where it is going. It follows—whoever disregards or misinterprets rules—no matter how small they are—and teaches others—God takes into account in the other realm. On the other hand, whoever puts rules into practice, and teaches them—God takes that into account, too, in the other realm. What I am saying is this: unless your way of straightening things out (your “justice”) gets beyond the formalities of how educated and dedicated religious people do it, you will not be getting into the other realm.” (Matthew 5)
You start life imitating others—language, safety, culture, hygiene, and so on. The term is “acculturated.” You learn not to touch hot stoves, to put on more clothes in winter, to wash hands, to drive a car; you learn not to speak certain words, to look both ways—thousands of little things. What the bible means by “justice,” though, is the right way to do things, fix mistakes, change things for the better. Biblical justice has nothing to do with law, police and courts—nothing at all!
Jesus challenges you to a greater “justice” that exceeds anything you learned in your culture—His justice involves caring for others no matter what, forgiving others when not earned, accepting putdowns, loving—authentically—someone who despises you, offering help to strangers, fixing a rupture between friends, respecting all—shy, proud, rich, poor, men and women equally. Your justice is the thoughtfully obeying rules—not mechanically, but deeper, unwritten ones, writ in your conscience and soul. You do not disobey laws—you obey deeper ones, moral ones—ones that count with God. You have gotten the Good News—the law to obey is from within—the care you cause in the world round you. You practice the Law of God’s love—gentle, patient, and unassuming. You go beyond civility, religion, and reason—whatever others may think. You are free to obey God.