In the first reading, Paul talks about the justice system. Over the summer I watched a lot of judge shows on TV. Our culture seems full of people who feel they have been treated unfairly and want to go on daytime television to seek justice.
My summer was full of vicarious roommate disputes, jilted lovers who want repayment of loans, landlords seeking damages or tenants wanting a return of security deposits, people who feel cheated by contractors or mechanics. Everyone, it seems, feels slighted in some way and wants recompense. My favorite was a lawyer suing a client for payment of services, but he had no contract! You’d think he’d have had a better grasp of the law.
In this reading, Paul says it’s ridiculous to seek justice in civil court when God’s law is what really matters. Some of the cases I watched over the summer seemed sort of frivolous. They ended up being about small sums of money, or the sorts of things that should just be dealt with individually instead of flying across country to air their dirty laundry before a national audience – or at least an audience of people home in the middle of the afternoon. Those who cheat their neighbors will surely pay a bigger price eventually, but taking your neighbor to court over a hundred dollars, or suing your children for damages, or your ex-boyfriend for a “loan” doesn’t seem like a charitable act or a good use of time, despite the fact that it is sometimes quite entertaining.
Of course we all want justice, but it doesn’t always happen here. And sometimes the mechanic can’t fix your car. And sometimes your roommate skips out without paying her share of the rent. And sometimes you just have to let some stuff go. There’s not always justice here, and the judgment of men isn’t always right, but the real judgment is God’s judgment and the true law is God’s law.
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