Justice, As a Matter of Fact

Reflection for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Intern, Joshua Crawford

This reflection was originally posted in our November 7th Newsletter

healing“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place[.]” (Lk. 21:10-11)

This week’s Gospel reading has a reputation for being among the most difficult for Christians to process and accept. It is indeed odd. Much of the stories of Jesus’ life and teachings are agreeable and comforting to a Christian’s ears (the Nativity, “Judge not, lest you be judged”, the Golden Rule, healings, etc.). And yet, here we have Jesus delivering alarmingly bad news to us.

I have come to accept these words as an assessment of the current world, stated very much as a matter of fact. Wars, natural disaster, disease and injustice exist, and they will continue to exist for the foreseeable future. But we are not helpless in our reaction to such things. A social justice advocate like me uses these verses as inspiration for everything we do. Nothing motivates us to do something about evil and injustice like witnessing it and then being compelled through a moral conscience to do something to stop it or prevent it from occurring again.

The reading is disturbing to a social justice advocate just as it is to everyone else, but a clear motivation to alleviate injustice and pain allows one to accept it. Furthermore, this motivation is something close to an affirmative command for the Christian. I have no doubt the same Jesus who performed miracles and was angered and aggrieved at people’s lack of compassion (Mk. 3:5) would command Christians to take action (in whatever ways their status in life permits them) to end the pain and suffering of others.

After the joyous events of baptism, forgiveness, adoption as children of God and assurance of life in communion with God and the saints, the Christian is invited to live with Jesus as their example. That example includes being moved by love and compassion towards others and taking action whenever able to express it by helping victims of all those tragedies listed in the reading. The Christian should be able to accept this invitation without hesitation, and the only difficult step should be merely figuring out the best ways of carrying it out.

Peace and all good,
Joshua Crawford
FAN Intern

Published in: on November 8, 2016 at 9:49 am  Leave a Comment  

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