The Perspective of Justice

A Right to Justice

Jesus stood up in his home town and announced his program: to bring glad tidings to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives, recovery of sight to the blind and release to prisoners. It may not sound particularly religious to some, but it was a program established by one who had returned to Galilee “in the power of the Spirit.”

Today’s liturgy juxtaposes the story of Jesus reading in the synagogue with the story of Ezra reading the law to people upon their return from exile. The suggestion is that Jesus’ program is a kind of law, a rule that should govern our lives. Bringing good news to the poor, liberating people from all their oppressions, this is not some optional activity that one can engage in only if one is inclined. It is “the law of the Lord,” it is the program for which we have all been anointed.

The unity and peace we pray for at the beginning of Mass will only come if Jesus’ followers accept his program as their own.

In his plan of salvation. God gave Israel its law. ... Of this collection of laws, love of God above all things and of neighbor as oneself already constitute the center. But the justice which must govern relations between people, and the law which is its juridical expression, also belong to the sum and substance of the biblical law. ... It is in this context that one should appreciate the biblical law’s care for the poor, the needy, the widow and the orphan: They have a right to justice according to the juridical ordinances of the people of God.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
Instruction on Christian Freedom and Liberation,1986: 45

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