Love thy neighbor as thyself.
We hear these words over and over again in some form or another. As children, we are taught the golden rule. As adults, we are told to turn the other cheek. It has been engrained into our consciousness - or has it? Today’s readings show us that we are all in need of a reminder of the true meaning of justice.
The sentiment of justice to our modern hearts echoes of revenge and retribution. When we are wronged, we seek punishment of those who wrong us - we seek justice. However, in today’s readings we are reminded of the true meaning and depth of justice. Justice is not just about reprisals. It is about giving what is due to our fellow man which is what is good. We are commanded to not deny the goods of which our neighbors have claim. The good of generosity, the good of forgiveness, and the good of light - all are our duties to one another.
But is not this the center of our Lord’s promises? How truly awesome is it that His law is not to seek revenge but to seek good? The Lord blesses the house of the just. But remember, it is not just about the actions of our hands but of the voice in our hearts. The true attitude of our hearts cannot be hidden from the Lord. I know that it is easy to put on a cordial face, but all the while have malice in our hearts. The Gospel reminds us that nothing can be hidden from the Lord. Every secret of our hearts will come to light. So instead of hiding malevolence in our hearts - we must choose to live in the light.
So today, how can we be just in an unjust world?
Let go of the animosity in our hearts and our calls for revenge. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Jesus laid down his precious and perfect life for our sins. I know it is hard to live justly, but I call you to turn to someone who has wronged you, who you have sought revenge against in the past and forgive. Forgive them in the depths of your hearts and with your actions as well. Live in the light.
When we choose to put down our swords, we shall live on His holy mountain.
Samantha Aguinaldo-Wetterholm is a wife, mom, and soon-to-be-dentist currently living in San Francisco, California. You can find out more about her here.