Word of the Day: Justice

Women Singing Earth by Mary Southard, CSJ
Women Singing Earth by Mary Southard, CSJ

Martin Luther King, Jr, quoted Amos, saying: “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

What is justice?

In Luke 4:18-19, Jesus describes his vocation to justice when speaking in the synagogue: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

Often justice and “prophet” are put together–the people who take a stand against injustice and call for change. A connection that is not often made is that of “prophet” and “artist,” but Hans Urs von Balthasar, a Roman Catholic theologian, suggested that the vocation of prophet and artist are intimately united. The prophet-artist, while prophetically calling for justice, can creatively paint a picture, weave words or use other mediums of expression that inspires people with a new vision. The prophet-artist uses their own hope–their very life–as the medium for crafting an image of a transformed future. When I listen to MLK’s “I have a dream” speech, I am caught up in his hope–his words and his life richly enfleshed his prophetic call for justice and hope for change.

What is your vision of justice? What is one vision that engages your heart and the heart of your community? Maybe it is racial reconciliation, an end to hunger and economic justice, humane health care, a future without human trafficking, earth stewardship, or educational opportunities for all children. Describe it as richly as possible–paint it, cook, write, or sing it. How do you already embody this vision of hope in your daily life? What are other ways? Share your vision with your family, with your children, with your friends and ask them for ideas.