When I read this beatitude I can say, yes I try and follow the rules (laws) as best I can. I try to be just. I turn my signal on when I am changing lanes, I don’t park in a red zone in a strip mall even though I’m only going to be there “for a minute,” I don’t park in handicap slots, I hold the door open for people coming out behind me, hold the elevator when someone is running to catch it, am polite to the Jehovah Witnesses that come to my door occasionally, and never have more than 15 items for express check out at Safeway. Sounds like politeness but I call it just. Yes I am the mold, the model for Justice. But you try and break any one of those justice rules and I am all over you in a blink. But I will save my pet rant (changing lanes without signaling) for another day, when I am especially feeling ornery. Today I am looking at the beatitude “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.”
I am assuming that “their fill” is referring to the justice shown to them. But that is not why I try to be just. I am just because it is right. I remember reading that there were two kinds of justice, divine and human. The definition of divine justice is wrapped up in G-d’s laws like the 10 commandments. And the human justice thing is similar to my list above. Well obeying something because someone else said you have to obey (especially if non-compliance means punishment) it is not justice, it is coercion. There doesn’t exist a realistic choice involved in this non-decision, unless of course you really like pain. I am unable to make the distinction between what G-d thinks is justice and what humans think is justice. They are one and the same. They aren’t separate, they are one in the same, they’d have to be. We are made in the image of G-d with his own breath, so it follows that there is really no distinction. In the preamble to the U.S. Constitution, the writer claims that we as a country exist “to form a more perfect union, establish justice…” That is the challenge. Caring for one another, passing laws that promote equality, shut no one out. (I’ll let you expand on this in your own way and in your own direction-just sit with it a moment)
So how does this beatitude affect you and me? I believe we have a collective responsibility to be just in our daily lives, wherever we see injustice, right it. I don’t believe we can shirk this. I believe it is rooted in our very DNA. It is not only patriotic but incredibly spiritual to show that we are not islands but a community of believers who work every day for those who need it. We are connected (belly button theory). In this way, we will have our “fill.” For those of you who have been educated by the Jesuits will remember that the name Ignatius begins with an “I” and ends with an “us.” Go Cats!
Happy Lent…Easter is coming!