Luke 18: 1-8
It’s not fair! Many parents have heard this complaint. When my two eldest girls were young, we tried to give them comparable birthday gifts. Though separated in age by two years, their birthdays fall a week and a day apart. As they got older, we realized what was suitable or appropriate for one, wasn’t necessarily so for the other.
In our Gospel reading from Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells a parable. A woman seeks justice from an unjust judge. Is justice the same as fairness? No, at least not from a Christian standpoint. All humans are equal before God and have the right to be treated with dignity and care no matter who they are. Jesus taught special concern for the poor and for people who could not stand up for themselves.
Jesus is remembered as someone who spoke truth to power. He challenged the pervasive injustices of the day. In a time when being poor or having a disability meant you had done something wrong before God, Jesus stood up and said “NO!” Instead he said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you,
when they exclude you and insult you
and reject your name as evil,
because of the Son of Man” (6:20-22).
Jesus spoke the parable of the widow and the unjust judge to say something about who God is. Justice goes beyond what is fair. Something can be equal but not be just. Justice does not always mean that everyone gets the same. For example, an elderly person who has a disability might need services beyond what her neighbour, who is also elderly may require. Justice means sometimes doing work or standing up for those who cannot. Justice means people getting what they need. Justice means taking a stand. Justice and love are two sides of the same coin. God’s love for us is so sure and true that we can trust that God will bring about justice. And, as disciples we are called to work for justice as well.
Yours in Christ, Kathryn