The Perspective of Justice

The Law of Love

The focus of today’s liturgy is “obedience to God’s word.” We are challenged to “keep the commandments, to walk in the law of the Lord.”

In order to keep the commandments, we must first know what they are and then we must understand them correctly. Jesus deals with this problem in the Gospel. The Jews had a law about murder, but they had misread it to mean that one was in the clear as long as one was not actually, personally killing someone. Jesus challenged his Jewish followers to follow the correct interpretation of the law, which meant that they were not to be the kind of people who would kill or would do anything that leads to someone else’s death.

We Christians believe that God’s “command of perfect love” obliges us to do what is just and right. It is not good enough to stay out of trouble; we must work at setting things right in the world. It is not good enough to give food to the hungry; we must work at making ours a society in which people do not go hungry.

“Give me discernment, that I may observe your law and keep it with all my heart.”

The responsibility for alleviating the plight of the poor falls upon all members of society. As individuals, all citizens have a duty to assist the poor through acts of charity and personal commitment. But private charity and voluntary action are not sufficient. We also carry out our moral responsibility to assist and empower the poor by working collectively through government to establish just and effective public policies.

U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All,1986: 189.


Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at


**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson