Summary: The Word of God calls us to practice justice and become images of God.
Monday of 13th Week in Course
Psalm 50 has one of the most convicting lines in Scripture: Do you think that I am like you? Those are the words the psalmist puts into the mouth of God. They are the Word of the Lord just as surely as Amos’s prophecy against Israel, or Jesus’s command to follow Him. That’s the perennial temptation, to think that God is made in the image of man, instead of man being made in the image of God. The pagan gods were made as kind of supermen–just as vindictive, lustful, envious, lazy, activist, quick to anger as we find ourselves. God is entirely different; in fact, when Moses asked to see the face of God, and only saw His back, the words he heard were God’s self-definition–slow to anger and always forgiving. We are commanded to become images of that God, that God revealed in Jesus. That is why we are here–to pray that our communion will make us individually and as a family into images of Jesus and Mary.
The God who reveals Himself in both Testaments is a God of service, one who particularly takes care of those in special need. It’s important to note that God says in the OT that He drove the Amorites out of Palestine because they practiced injustice. Moreover, one of the big reasons He drove the Hebrews out of the Holy Land is that they were doing the same thing--they sell the just man for silver,
and the poor man for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the weak
into the dust of the earth,
and force the lowly out of the way.
Son and father go to the same prostitute,
profaning my holy name.
Upon garments taken in pledge
they recline beside any altar;
And the wine of those who have been fined
they drink in the house of their god.
In other words, why should God allow His name to be profaned by putting up with the same kinds of injustice done by the Hebrews that were practiced by the pagans? He even gives an analogy of what will happen: the wagon crushing some left-over sheaves sounds a lot like God threatening that the unjust will be what we would call road-kill.
The contemporary application, the Holy Father teaches, is obvious:
The word of God sheds light on human existence and stirs our conscience to take a deeper look at our lives, inasmuch as all human history stands under God’s judgment: “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations” (Mt 25:31-32). Nowadays we tend to halt in a superficial way before the importance of the passing moment, as if it had nothing to do with the future. The Gospel, on the other hand, reminds us that every moment of our life is important and must be lived intensely, in the knowledge that everyone will have to give an account of his or her life. In the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, the Son of Man considers whatever we do or do not do to “the least of his brethren” (cf. 25:40, 45) as done or not done to himself: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (25:35-36). The word of God itself emphasizes the need for our engagement in the world and our responsibility before Christ, the Lord of history. As we proclaim the Gospel, let us encourage one another to do good and to commit ourselves to justice, reconciliation and peace.
God’s word inspires men and women to build relationships based on rectitude and justice, and testifies to the great value in God’s eyes of every effort to create a more just and more liveable world. The word of God itself unambiguously denounces injustices and promotes solidarity and equality. In the light of the Lord’s words, let us discern the “signs of the times” present in history, and not flee from a commitment to those who suffer and the victims of forms of selfishness.
The Synod recalled that a commitment to justice and to changing our world is an essential element of evangelization. In the words of Pope Paul VI, we must “reach and as it were overturn with the force of the Gospel the standards of judgement, the interests, the thought-patterns, the sources of inspiration and life-styles of humanity that are in contrast with the word of God and with his plan for salvation”.
That means it is our job to convert the culture, not become corrupted by it.