“Make justice your aim; redress the wronged, hear the orphans’
plea, defend the widow.” Isaiah 1: 17
A popular bumper sticker states: “If you want peace, do justice.”
Some propose that our war in Iraq is to make peace. Others would argue
that it is because we are NOT doing justice, that there is no peace in Iraq
or Israel or Ireland or Sudan or…perhaps in our own hearts.
Is this what Jesus meant in today’s gospel: “I have not come to bring
peace but the sword.”?
Jesus foretells that father will be against son, daughter against mother,
in-laws against one another, etc. Wasn’t Jesus coming to make God’s
love real in our lives? Why then, such a prediction of dissension and
Isaiah reminds the Israelites that their sacrifices are not pleasing to God.
Rather, their call to God’s covenant must be honored; they must, “Make
justice your aim; redress the wronged, hear the orphans’ plea, defend the
How are we, as followers of Christ, to live out our baptismal covenant to
make God present in today’s world, to “…make justice our aim”?
There are all kinds of political voices telling us that their way is God’s
call…that this or that political idea is what God demands of us.
As Christians we struggle not only with the questions of our presence in
Iraq, but also public policy regarding marriage, when life begins and ends,
etc. Is this the ‘sword’ of which Jesus speaks?
In the midst of political arguments during this election year, how are we
to discern God’s call to us in the 21st century? According to the US
Catholic Bishops’ Letter: Faithful Citizenship-A Catholic Call to Political
Responsibility (2003), the bishops state: “… we seek to form the
consciences of our people. We do not wish to instruct persons on how they
should vote by endorsing or opposing candidates. We hope that voters will
examine the position of candidates on the full range of issues, as well as
on their personal integrity, philosophy, and performance. We are convinced
that a consistent ethic of life should be the moral framework from which
to address issues in the political arena.” (Vatican
Document: Doctrinal Note on some questions regarding the participation of
Catholics in political life, 2002) See: http://www.usccb.org/faithfulcitizenship/bishopStatement.html#3
How are we to act in a way that recognizes God’s presence within and around
us? As humans, we make decisions that often times reflect our needs
and limited vision. We thus fall into struggles within our selves and
with others…and forget to call upon God to guide us in our lives, our actions,
My prayer today is that we turn to the God spirit within and ask for guidance
to live the call of the prophets and of Jesus’ good news…to love one another
as ourselves. And then, hopefully in the stillness of our hearts we
will truly listen to what the Spirit has to say.