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(Part 17)


December 2, 2014

Today’s readings:
Isaiah 11:1-10
Psalm 72:1-17

The whole world wants peace and prosperity. What can bring these about? It is justice. Justice is giving to the other person what is his due. What is a person’s due? It is respect, dignity and an equitable share of the world’s goods.

All should work for justice, especially governments. These exist to serve its citizens. But justice is also the great concern of the Church, which works to serve the citizens of the Kingdom. Now the greater numbers of the world’s population are poor, and they are the ones deprived of justice and are oppressed.

Thus, the ideal Davidic king, who ultimately is the Lord Jesus himself, is one filled with the Spirit and imbued by spiritual gifts (Is 11:2-3a), who has a preferential option for the poor. “But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.” (Is 11:4a). “Justice shall be the band around his waist” (Is 11:5a).

Leaders, both secular and spiritual, should be dispensers of justice. “O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the king’s son; that he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment” (Ps 72:2). What is the result of justice?

  • Care for and protection of the poor. “For he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help. He shows pity to the needy and the poor and saves the lives of the poor. From extortion and violence he redeems them, for precious is their blood in his sight.” (Ps 72:12-14).
  • Elimination of oppression. “That he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor.” (Ps 72:4).
  • Absence of crime, harm and destruction. “They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain” (Is 11:9a).
  • Prosperity. “That the mountains may yield their bounty for the people, and the hills great abundance” (Ps 72:3). “That abundance may flourish in his days, great bounty” (Ps 72:7a). “May wheat abound in the land, flourish even on the mountain heights.” (Ps 72:16a).
  • Recognition and renown among the nations. “May the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute, the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.” (Ps 72:10).
  • Peace and absence of conflict among all peoples. Everyone will get along with everyone else, even those who throughout history have not gotten along, including those who have been oppressors and victims, such as the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the young goat, the young lion and the calf, the bear and the cow, the viper and the baby (Is 11:6-8).

So important is the leaders’ role that we must pray constantly for them. “Long may he live, .... prayed for without cease, blessed day by day.” (Ps 72:15).

All leaders should desire the kind of life enumerated above. But in the whole history of humankind, this has eluded our grasp. How can it happen? God must be in the picture. We cannot just do social action without spiritual input. People can only look to justice if they are transformed by and renewed in God’s Spirit.

And so we do our work with the poor, and we do our work of massive and worldwide evangelization. The two necessarily go together. We share Christ so that the world might meet Christ and start to live Christ, so that “the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.” (Is 11:9b).

“May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him.” (Ps 72:11).

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