When justice is done . . .
Proverbs 21:13-15: When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous, but dismay to evildoers.
Matthew 23:23-25: Justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done
The Book of Proverbs sets out to provide wisdom and instruction in “wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity” (1:2). Throughout its oracles of wisdom, the call to act justly and to pursue righteousness is a constant refrain, relentlessly shared and affirmed as more acceptable to God than sacrifice. In a one-sentence pearl of wisdom, the speaker testifies that the righteous rejoice when justice is done. To seek justice is to strike at the heart of powers, making space for God’s just ordering and enduring wisdom in a world all too often unmoved by suffering. There is joy in affirming the pursuit of justice.
The religious leaders Jesus addresses in the Gospel passage have grown accustomed and comfortable with the injustices of the world. They are happy to perform religious duties but neglect the weightier and more disruptive demands of justice, mercy and faithfulness. Similarly, Christians often see the world the same way.
God, you are the source of our wisdom. We pray for wisdom and courage to do justice, to respond to what is wrong in the world by acting to make it right. We pray for wisdom and courage to grow in the unity of your Son, Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit, reigns forever and ever. Amen.