“Be Merciful Just As Your Father Is Merciful”( Lk 6:36).
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
Facing injustices, people in our today’s society do their best to demand that justice be done. But what type of justice do they want to ask for? Very often, we understand justice as the synonym with revenge or vindication. We mean punishment for the perpetrator and restoration of the victim’s rights. In other words, we only practice retributive or punitive justice.
For this reason, lawmakers create more severe legal measures, and government authorities build more harsh prisons, thinking that by so doing they can get rid of crimes and make this world a paradise.
Realities have taught us painful lessons.
Most severe punishments such as death penalty sometimes can curb evildoings but the killing of the evildoer by itself proves to be a failure in terms of being a remedy for social illness and a healing for both the criminal and the victim. Not mentioning evil and corrupt human legal systems that only provide justice to the rich and the powerful and deprive the poor and the voiceless their due rights to equal and just treatment.
In fact, when we deal with people, we should not mistake for doing business with mere objects like machine and animals this person-to-person relation. A human person, no matter who he or she may be, has a name, a family background, a story to tell. They are like an iceberg of which we only see the tip. We all fall short of knowing about the truth hidden under the appearance. Finally, a human person is a mystery so profound, so great that only God who has made him can understand fully and correctly.
The Holy Bible teaches us that God created the human person after His image. Saint John the Apostle whom Jesus loved teaches us that God is love. So, as people often say, “Like father like son. We are God’s children. We bear in our hearts the image of God, our Father in heaven, Who is love.
God is holy, He does not like sin. But God loves sinners and forgives sinners when they repent of their sins and go back to God. God as the supreme judge of humanity, Who loves justice and will not leave any wrongdoing unpunished. But God is first and above all a merciful Father, slow to anger and rich in forgiveness. To save us sinners from death God sent Jesus, His Beloved Son to die on the cross. The suffering and death of Jesus is the proof of God’s merciful justice. In other words, human justice is vindictive, meant for taking revenge on the criminal. Divine justice, on the contrary, is educative and reformative, meant for the education of the wrongdoer, for teaching them the way to truth and for the reform of the criminal, for giving the sinner a second chance, an opportunity, to stand up and get out of the darkness of evil and embrace the light of the day of salvation.
Aware of the reality that we were sinners, deserving death penalty by God, the most holy and just judge. But we were forgiven our sins because of God’s merciful love. We all owe God’s forgiveness for which we can only make a return by being merciful to those who do wrong to us. Let us leave the task of judging and punishing to God, and practice forgiveness without reserve, so that we may be as merciful as God, our Father in heaven Who is merciful. Amen.
Fr. Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Nhut, O.P.
The Holy Spirit Choir