CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
ΔΙΚΑΙΟΣΥΝΗ (JUSTICE) IS INDISPENSABLE
TO ALL OF MANKIND
"The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream by night,
and the Lord said to him, ‘Make a particular request
for yourself.’ Solomon said, ‘You have shown great
mercy to Your servant David my father, because he
walked before You in truth, and with You in
righteousness and uprightness of heart, You have
continued this great kingdom for him, and You gave
him a son to sit on his throne, as I do today. Now, O
Lord my God, You made Your servant a king in place
of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not
know how to go out or come in. Your servant is in
the midst of Your people whom You chose, a great
people, who will not be numbered. Therefore, give
Your servant A HEART TO HEAR AND JUDGE YOUR
PEOPLE IN RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND TO DISCERN
BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL, FOR WHO CAN
JUDGE THIS GREAT PEOPLE OF YOURS? (3 Kings 2:4-8).
The LORD, who APPEARED TO SOLOMON, was the Son of God, for He is the Logos/Word of God the Father. King Solomon did not ask for a "long life", or "riches, or the "life" of his "enemies," for such things are of this world. Therefore, God readily heard his prayer (Saint John Chrysostom). Rather, he asked for VIRTUES SUCH AS UNDERSTANDING AND JUDGMENT, WHICH BELONG TO THE CROWN OF THE VIRTUES. These virtues enable one to"DISCERN BETWEEN GOOD AND EVIL." (Hebrews 5:13-14).
"And the word of the Lord came to Zachariah, saying, ‘Thus says the Lord Almighty: ‘Render A JUST JUDGMENT; SHOW MERCY AND COMPASSION EACH TO HIS BROTHER. DO NOT OPPRESS THE WIDOW, OR THE ORPHAN, OR THE FOREIGNER, OR THE POOR. Let no one REMEMBER IN HIS HEART ANY WRONG OF HIS BROTHER" (Zechariah 7:8-10).
"Learn to do good. Seek judgment and redeem the wronged. Defend the orphan and justify the widow" (Isaiah 1:17).
"He has shown you, O man, what is good. Or what does the Lord seek from you, but do justly and to love mercy, and
to be ready to walk with the Lord your God?" (Micha 6:8).
The holy Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Romans 1:7, writes, "For in the righteousness of God is revealed by faith to faith as it is written, ‘THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH". "The righteousness of God: a right relationship with God, which originates with Him. God’s plan for our reception of His righteousness is the Incarnation of His Son. Christ’s righteousness is given to us, and by our own cooperation with God we continue to grow in it.
"The just shall live by faith". Faith, as we know it, is NOT something abstract, but a way of life. The Christian faithful adhere to the commandments of God through their belief and obedience. Living by faith in Christ, we reveal the fruit of the Holy Spirit. As Saint Paul writes, "for the Kingdom of God is NOT eating and drinking, but RIGHTEOUSNESS AND PEACE AND JOY IN THE HOLY SPIRIT" (Romans 14:17).
As the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ our God and Savior, we are to exhibit the same respect for justice as He. God’s Divine justice is absolute and perfect. God’ s justice is founded on the purest and holiest form of love. Man’s kind of justice is flawed and in many cases corrupt. God’s judgment of us is based on our exercise of free will. Although sin impairs our powers, it does not destroy God’s image in us or our free will.
A wonderful illustration of Christ’s act of justice and mercy is the story of the adulterous woman in the Gospel of Saint John 7:53-8:11, "He raised Himself up and said to them, ‘He who is without sin among you, let him throw the first stone at her first… convicted by their sonscience, went out one by one… He said to her, ‘Woman where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you? She said , ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."
When we, however, review Christ’s mock trial based on false accusations, slander, lies, and fabrications by the high religious Jewish leaders, we see that Our Lord did not receive justice, but was convicted on false charges of blasphemy and killed. "He made Himself to be the Son of God." Blinded by their hatred of Him, they crucified the Son of God, the true Messiah, the Savior of the world! In one of the hymns from Holy and Great Thursday, we hear our Lord asking: "O My people, what have I done unto thee, or wherein have I wearied thee? To thy blind I have light, thy lepers I cleansed, thy paralytic I raised up. O My people, what have done unto thee, and how has thou recompense Me? Instead of manna, gall; instead of water, vinegar; instead of My love, you nailed Me to the Cross…". This of course was man’s greatest act of injustice, not only to another human being, but also to the Almighty God Himself; He Who will pass the final judgment on all humanity on Judgment Day. God’s judgment is absolute.
God, "the Judge will appear in all His glory with all His holy Angels before the face of all the world. ‘Strict and terrible,’ performed in all the justice of God, it will be ‘A day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. ‘Final and definitive,’ determining for all eternity the fate of each one who is judged. The result of the Judgment will be Eternal reward, blessedness for the righteous and torment for the evil who are condemned."
It is said that human justice must be applied equally to all peoples. Law has been passed to determine who is innocent and who is found guilty. Crimes committed must be punished, but after a fair and just trial. No one must be above the law of the land. Whether the accused is rich or poor, the identical legal and correct procedure should be followed. The crime should be investigated and the results should be honest and objective and not prejudicial in any way. The accused should have an attorney to represent him at court. If justice is to prevail, everything must be done according to the laws of the country. Unfortunately, there have been cases where people have been found guilty on circumstancial evidence and have been unustly imprisoned for many years. Also, powerful and rich people who were truly guilty, were exonerated and set free. Hopefully, there is a strong Justice System to protect the rights of the individual and either to investigate or prosecute those in question.
There is not a greater injury to human dignity than injustice. We can clearly see that the Almighty God commands justice, compassion, and the protection of the weak in society, such as widows, orphans, poor, and foreigners. It is easy for these unfortunate people, who are not able to sustain themselves, to be ignored and dismissed by society. It is also easy to abuse and exploit them to the point of exhaustion and even death. There are many tragic stories of people who were treated as though they were subhuman and used as slaves. Many of the poor were used to entertain the wealthy and powerful, to fight wars, and forced to work in mines and the most hazardous of jobs.
The holy Apostles themselves served food to the widows and those in need. When the Apostles could not preach the word of God and serve tables, they elected "seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business" (Acts 6:3). The FIRST ORDINATION PERFORMED BY THE HOLY APOSTLES THEMSELVES WERE THE SEVEN DEACONS. The Greek word ‘διάκονος’ (‘deacon’) which literally means "servant." They were elected to continue the ministry of serving the widows and the poor.
Ο Μέγας Φιλάνθρωπος (The Great Philanthropist) our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, makes charity a criteria for salvation and for entering His Heavenly Kingdom when He says, "Depart from Me, YOU CURSED, INTO THE EVERLASTING FIRE PREPARED FOR THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS: FOR I WAS HUNGRY and you gave Me, no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. Then they also will answer Him, saying, Lord when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You? Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, IS SAY TO YOU, INASMUCH AS YOU DID NOT DO IT TO ONE OF THE LEAST OF THESE, YOU DID NOT DO IT TO ME. And these will GO AWAY INTO EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT, BUT THE RIGHTEOUS INTO ETERNAL LIFE" (St. Matthew 25:41-46). Our Lord Jesus Christ identifies Himself WITH THE POOR AND THE OUTCASTS. He invites to brotherhood all who are kindled with love for others. "And this COMMANDMENT WE HAVE FROM Him, that he who loves God MUST LOVE HIS BROTHER ALSO" (1 John 4:21). These are crowned with grace.
"But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE MERCY AND NOT SACRIFICE.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, BUT SINNERS, TO REPENTANCE" (St. Matthew 9:13). The world should become more loving and merciful as the Almgihty God is to all. Even after thousands of years, mankind has still not learned to respond to the human suffering and plight. The streets, parks, and neighborhoods are filled with the indigent, the mentally impaired, those addicted with drugs, and with thousands of homeless and destitute. Why is this? Especially in the greatest and wealthiest country in the world? Why are chlldren still neglected, abused, and exploited? Why are thousands of women forgotten, ignored, and tormented? Have we, as a society, as a community, lost our humanity?
We should emulate the good exmple of one of the Great holy Fathers of the Church, Saint Basil the Great, who founded philanthropic institutions for the poor. Of course, there were countless other holy Fathers and Mothers of the Church that came from wealthy families and gave all that they had inherited from their parents to the poor. Christians throughout the centuries have been known for helping the poor, the homeless, the suffering, and the forgotten in society. We, as the contemprary Orthodox Christians, must be more engaged in philanthropy. By this, I do not mean only to donate funds alone, but to personally touch the life of someone through compassion, love, understanding, encouragement, kindness, and good example. The world has great need for sensitive and good people.
ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ! ΑΛΗΘΩΣ ΑΝΕΣΤΗ!