Today in America we celebrate our anniversary as an independent country. This country was founded on the ideals of justice, personal liberties, and freedom from tyranny. These ideals were near and dear to the Hebrews and the early Christians, to our founding fathers, and are still important issues today. Our readings today talk about justice especially. The first reading tells us that justice will bring about peace. Justice was one of the major ideas for our country. The plan was for everyone to be treated justly: That our justice system would be fair – people would be guaranteed a fair trial, protection from improper incarceration, or torture even if found guilty. And those were extreme ideas for the time.
The Psalm and the second reading today talk again about justice and about governance. As God is just and rightly governs His people, the governments on earth should follow the example and govern fairly and justly. They should put the needs of their people above their own personal desires. Our leaders should pray to God for the wisdom and clarity to be good and just rulers to support these ideals of justice and liberty for the people.
The readings leading up to the Gospel are so idealistic – that justice will bring peace and the leaders will have wisdom from God to lead well and support the people. And the Gospel is optimistic too, but puts it in a time perspective. Everything will be accomplished, and the people who have struggled and suffered will find recompense, but perhaps not on the earth. In over two hundred years, we are still struggling to form a more perfect union. The ideals of justice and liberty are still wonderful ideals, and we are still struggling to express them perfectly. There are still people thirsting for righteousness – who are still persecuted for the sake of righteousness, still people trying to make peace. They will be rewarded, either here or in heaven (hopefully both!). I’m not necessarily a flag-waving patriot, but I firmly believe in the ideals of liberty and justice on which this country was founded. As long as we continue to value and encourage liberty and justice, and as long as there are those who are thirsting for righteousness and those who are trying to make peace, we are still on the right track.
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