Sunday, November 17, 2013

Last Green Sunday

Today we wear green for the last Sunday until January 19th. Next week is Christ the King. Then we have the seasons of Advent and Christmas (Violet and White).

In the readings today two words stand out: justice and perseverance.

It is all too common to hear people today who ask for or demand justice, as if it is something which one can be given. Even sadder, often when people demand justice what they are really seeking is vengeance.

Today's readings remind us that justice is not something one can be given. Justice is a virtue. Since ancient times it was considered the first of the cardinal virtues. Like any natural virtue it can only be acquired by practice.

Ulpian defined justice as "the constant and perpetual will to give to each person that which is their right or due." Constant ,not intermittent. Perpetual, without end.

If I have the virtue of justice, I give every human being (rich or poor, friend or stranger, or even enemy) the respect they are due as human beings created in the image and likeness of God. I do it when I feel like it and when I don't. Justice is not something I get, it is a way of life. In the responsorial psalm,

The Lord comes to rule the world with justice.

In meantime, as we wait, we must develop the second virtue from the end of the Gospel:

By your perseverance you will secure your lives.

Perseverance is not a virtue that comes easily. The word St. Luke uses in Greek literally means "to stay under." Most of us when under the weight of some difficulty in life want to get out from under as soon as possible.

Perseverance does not mean that we should get comfortable being down or under. That would be resignation. Perseverance is grounded in hope and faith. Perseverance comes from knowing that whatever we are suffering is always temporary. If we are truly people of faith we know that we are never alone, God is always with us. Perseverance knows that truth, good, justice will always in the end win.

Perseverance enables us while we are forced to "stay under" to never collapse. We stand strong and tall.

Justice and Perseverance marks of the true Christian .