Love Justifies Sinfulness
(see Lk 7:36-8:3)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The readings we have just listened to in this Holy Mass send us the message of how different God’s Justice is from man’s justice.
Man’s justice is basically punitive and vengeful. To deal with those who have committed crimes more prisons are built, tougher measures—death penalty included—are taken. All that people do in the name of justice—sometimes, even in the name of God—could mean everything but the destruction—unfortunately—not of the crime but of the human person.
Taking man’s legal system into close consideration, we find out that there are more injustices than justices. In a society where money can buy everything, justice becomes a luxury for the poor and the voiceless. In a country where exists a big gap between the rulers and the ruled, there is no fair trial. The poor farmer gets life imprisonment for stealing a chicken worth about ten dollars whereas the senior government official pleads not guilty even though he has pocketed millions from public budget. Many innocent people were unjustly sentenced to death. Many ex-convicts become angry and more dangerous criminals. How unjust man’s so-called “justice” is! What a failure man’s justice has proved to be! Do you know why? Because man’s justice works exclusively with hatred and desire for revenge. Without love justice is just cruelty.
God’s justice, on the contrary, means first of all His merciful love that bears with man’s imperfections, wrongdoings, and ingratitude. God’s justice means education of man’s conscience in order for him to know how to do the right and to right the wrong in accordance with God’s law deeply inscribed in his heart. God’s justice means restoration of man’s dignity as divine image, seriously damaged by sin, to its original model. God’s justice means God’s almost unlimited chances for man to repent of his sin and deserve divine mercy and forgiveness. God’s justice even means the uplifting of the sinner who has given up his sin to so great a status, that of being God’s children. God’s justice has finally been identified with Divine Mercy in the very person of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. All that Christ said and did during His saving the human race mission shows us the truth that divine justice has found its complete meaning and ultimate goal in divine mercy. Let us listen to Christ speak to repentant sinners, “I do not condemn you. Go home, and sin no more!” (“Hindi kita parurusahan, humayo ka at huwag ka pagkasala!”) God the most holy and most pure Lord of all that is true, good and beautiful never lets any sin, even the smallest, go without fair judgment and severe punishment. But God the most merciful and forgiving Lord has died on the cross to save sinners. Only God, the God of wonders—and of surprises also—can deal with this paradox in the Life, Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, His Beloved Son, our Lord and Savior, Who is really “Misericordiae Vultus—the Face of Mercy.”
As for us sinners, in order to be worthy of God’s mercy and forgiveness, repentance is necessary but not enough. Facing God, the Heavenly Father full of compassion and understanding, slow to anger and rich in mercy, it is not the fear of a slave that we should express to God but we should rather bring Him a broken heart of a son or a daughter who feels the pain not of himself or herself but that of their Father Whose love they hurt and abused beyond description.
Repentance earns us sinners forgiveness.
Love grants us children justification.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.