"Wash yourselves clean! Put away your misdeeds from before my eyes; cease doing evil; learn to do good. Make justice your aim: redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow." Is 1:16
Justice is a common theme in the bible, and while it is proposed as a good in itself, it is also a foundational way to evaluate our lives. As the Catholic church was planted in American soil, it built schools, hospitals, orphanages and so much more. It also began to send missionaries around the world. It was a proud and strong church. Bishops, and sometimes even pastors, could call local civic officials and exert their influence. Young Catholics began to take their place on planning and school boards, and in local, state and national legislatures. While this is the natural path that so many ethnic and cultural groups take in the United States, it can also be very dangerous.
When power becomes a good in itself, justice takes a back seat and institutions like the church become arrogant and self protective. Choosing to look the other way at the sexual sins of its clergy against children, and taking for granted the trust of the people, some bishops sent offending priests to new parishes where they abused more children. How awful! "Make justice your aim: redress the wronged," Isaiah shouts, and his challenge must be ours if we are ever to help heal the abused, and reclaim the trust of the people.
Today, ask pardon for ignoring the gospel demand to live a just life.
Have you been the victim of injustice? Have you been unjust to others?