God’s justice is not our justice, Fr. Raneiro of New Camaldoli Hermitage emphatically pointed out in a sermon once. I had never considered that reality before, but looking around our world, it seems like the most obvious observation many of us never make.
In both the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, God gets really clear about what justice is. Treat the widows and orphans like family. Feed the hungry. Tend to the sick. A just people cares for those who can’t care for themselves, for the poor, the marginalized.
These are not the principles on which our justice system is founded. Our justice system is largely concerned not with mercy but with maintaining privilege for the privileged. God’s justice system overflows with love and abundance. “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly,” Jesus says.
It can be hard to picture a universal order that’s so much more generous than we are, and yet it’s all around us—trillions of galaxies, millions of species of insects, around 200 seeds on the outside of a strawberry. The author of existence is Infinite Love. What other kind of universe could it be?
If we can learn to see the generosity with which God gazes at us, we can then see the rest of the world with wonder and love.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God….All things came into being through Him.” That’s God’s generosity, giving away the divine being in and as absolutely everything that is. Complete inclusion—not a single particle escapes that outpouring.
To no corner of the universe does God say, sorry, I don’t think you’re worthy of me. Quite the opposite.
The invitations to Judgement Day say, come experience absolute grace and forgiveness. This is going to be one hopping and everlasting party, and everyone’s going.
2 thoughts on “Loving God’s Justice”
That’s a really interesting definition of justice. I’ll take it.
Dorothy Day, the founder of the Catholic Worker said this about our society:
“We need to change the system. We need to overthrow, not the government, as the authorities are always accusing the Communists of conspiring to teach to do, but this rotten, decadent, putrid industrial capitalist system which breeds such suffering …”
She was speaking to God’s notion of justice as Christ communicated it and built an organization that is guided by these principles.
I appreciate your reflection on the beauty and abundance of the natural world. Still, the law of the jungle also characterizes this world and serves as a model that ruthless, powerful people often emulate. I suppose the models and lessons we glean from the natural order can depend very much on the sensibilities we carry to it.