|GETTING JUSTICE RIGHT - Feb 21|
|2010 - Editorial|
|Friday, 19 February 2010 14:20|
The cry for “justice” that rings out from the hearts of people in all parts of the world today is perhaps more insistent than ever. As well-intended and necessary as standing up for a cause may be, the way in which the world speaks about justice and often proceeds to acquire it does not tell the full story. So Pope Benedict says in his Lenten message for 2010.
Jesus “surely condemns the indifference that even today forces hundreds of millions into death through lack of food, water and medicine,” says the Pope, but to satisfy those demands is not all that is required.
The “permanent temptation ...to situate the origin of evil in an exterior cause”, the Pope says, and therefore to look for the causes of injustice in the situations around us is “ingenuous and short-sighted”.
One year ago, Fr Joseph Harris speaking about the moral decadence in our society in an address on the Archdiocesan pastoral priority “Regenerating the Moral and Spiritual Values of our Society” noted how easily we put the blame for our failings on other persons and institutions in the society, forgetting “that corrupt institutions come out of a corrupt society which is made up of corrupt individuals.” The blame game he said “is simply an excuse not to look at ourselves.”
In the common understanding, Pope Benedict says justice implies “to render to every man his due”. The problem is that determining what is due is not a matter of legal process. “What man needs most cannot be guaranteed to him by law.” Getting straight to the point, he says, the human person needs love and “lives by that love which only God can communicate since he created the human person in his image and likeness”.
Today’s secular world, in its quest for self-sufficiency, believes that it has the ability of itself to create a just world. The Pope makes it clear that is putting the cart before the horse. He calls everyone to look within – humbly, and to acknowledge the need that only the crucified Christ can satisfy. By this experience, “the Christian is moved to contribute to creating just societies”. The transformation, the justice that we seek, begins with conversion to Christ and believing in the Gospel.
On this First Sunday of Lent, we hear of Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. Like Jesus, we are tempted with offerings of possessions, domination and power. Pope Benedict’s message must move us to see that, at the heart of it all is a temptation to replace “the logic of receiving and trustfully expecting” from God “with anxiously seizing and doing on one’s own”. He invites us all to recognise our need to receive the gift of the fullness of life that Jesus offers.
Says St Paul, “If your lips confess that Jesus is Lord and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, then you will be saved” (Romans 10: 9).
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