The Perspective of Justice

Reading the Signs

Wise men came from the east. They had not had the benefit of the Hebrew Scriptures, but they were wise enough to read the signs and fall in homage before “the glory of the Lord.” In their wisdom, they offered gifts which acknowledged Jesus as both king and sacrificial victim.

King Herod, meanwhile, had not learned from his people's Scriptures, and in his lack of wisdom, he became greatly disturbed. He became the enemy of the child, for he refused to accept that kingship is his, and government and power.

The contrast between the acceptance by the Gentile wise men and the rejection by the Jewish king underscores the message that Jesus is the “light of all peoples.” No one is excluded. The chosen Jews and the foreigners from “the ends of the earth are members of the same body and sharers of the promise.”

Those who exclude others from the life of the human family are being unfaithful to the Son “revealed to the nations.” Those who accept only the rich and powerful are being unfaithful to the God who shall have pity for the lowly and the poor.

Basic justice demands the establishment of minimum levels of participation in the life of the human community for all persons. The ultimate injustice is for a person or group to be treated actively or abandoned passively as if they were nonmernbers of the human race. To treat people this way is effectively to say that they simply do not count as human beings.

U.S. Bishops, Economic Justice for All, 1986:77

Gerald Darring

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson