Having said that I would write on justice during Lent this year, I find that I have not addressed at all what I thought I would. The Scriptural texts that I have used seem strange even to me. And today I use another odd one. Romans 12:9-21 is really about how we treat one another, how our relationships should be transformed when we become Christian. For example, love one another, serve the Lord by serving others, be joyful, be hospitable to guests. These may be common ways of acting for anyone.
But then Paul goes on to speak of how we should relate to our "enemies." I suspect most of us relate to our enemies by avoiding them. But that is not what Paul anticipates. He says we should bless them, live happily with them, celebrate with them, don't hold a grudge, don't think we are better than they. "Beloved, don't be obsessed with taking revenge, but leave that to God's righteous justice. . . . 'If your enemy is hungry, buy him lunch! Win him over with kindness. For your surprising generosity will awaken his conscience, and God will reward you with favor.' Never let evil defeat you, but defeat evil with good." (TPT)
It's a tall order. And as in another Scripture where it is asked, "Who is my neighbor?", I am tempted to ask, "Who is my enemy?" In America today it seems as though we have classified entire groups of people as our enemy: immigrants, the poor, the rich, those who wear a mask or those who don't, Republican or Democrat, White, Black or Brown, followers of QAnon. Take your pick. There are plenty of enemies to go around.
Buy him lunch, be kind, generous, defeat evil with good. We might even add listening during lunch.
#justice #peace #Lent #prayerandfasting #generosity
"What is justice?" may seem like a simple question. But what is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear it? Some think of punishment: who deserves it, how should it be meted out, where should it be administered, how long should it last. Others think of the lack of justice: disproportionate rates of poverty, higher rates of arrest among minorities, the work load of public defenders with too little time to concentrate on the abundance of clients, implicit bias and racism, who is offered a plea deal, the role of rehabilitation and keeping people out of prison to start with.
Both kinds of justice aim for transforming the world. But one would lessen the need for the other.
#justice #fastingandprayer #prayer #Lent #punishment #reform
I started this website and blog on May 1, 2012. I am a Catholic who has been in ministry for many years. I first developed what I would call a close relationship with Jesus in the early 1970s. Ever since then I have been praying with people for healing and other needs. It is because I have seen so many of these prayers answered that I am so bold as to offer to pray for you individually through this website and phone line.