33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, 2013
As the year ends, the Church selects readings to call us to be more attentive to the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit who has spoken to us by both the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament writings. Today the first reading is from the book of the prophet Malachi. We read that "The sun of justice with its healing rays" is coming. And in the Responsorial Psalm, we read, "The Lord comes to rule the earth with justice." These words can give us comfort, confidence in God's justice, and mercy, for St. John writes, "God is love." Can we seriously understand the justice of God? And if we say that God is just, how can we also think of him as merciful or loveable?
In an article in the Summa Theologiae St. Thomas Aquinas quotes St. Augustine: "God's wisdom became man to give us an example in righteousness of living..." The word "righteousness" is like the word "justice"; they have the same meaning. In the Old and the New Testaments, we meet it a lot. Justice is one of the highest moral virtues because it pleases God and is inseparable from his love.
"Learn to do good, search for justice." (Rm 13:18 and Is 1:17) St. Paul also mentions a gift of justification in his writings: it is from God through our Lord's redemptive sacrifice on the cross. God gave us a great example in our Lord Jesus Christ's loving, consecrated, humble acts. At the Last Supper, as the darkness fell, Christ showed his followers great love from his heart in giving them the wonderful gift of his own sacrifice--his body and blood--the wonderful sign of love being completed as he knelt and washed their feet. Then he dried their feet with a towel. In humility, Christ embraced the lowliness of his passion willingly in order to lead us back to the Father's love. That is, "God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us back to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved." (Eph 2:4-5)
The Day of the Lord draws near, we come closer to the mystery of God's infinite love as he is always showing justice and is just. Christ is absolutely able to provide the goodness and love for all, because God has loved justice and offered us a chance to participate in his divinity, as his Divine Son became human. The Sun of Justice, who is God, shines within us.