A statue of Blind Justice stands atop many courts of law in the United States. She wears a blindfold and holds the scales of justice. She represents the ideal expressed in today’s reading from Sirach — that each person will be treated equally in the eyes of the law and that judges will “[judge] justly and [affirm] the right” (Sirach 35:18) based solely on the justness of e ach plaintiff’s case.
Yet we know that the wealthy can buy very good lawyers, giving them an edge in the courtroom. We know that blacks far outnumber whites on death row. We also know that high - profile defendants are often tried and convicted by the media before the judge and jury ever enter the court. However careful, no human judge or human justice system can be completely blind to factors such as race, wealth, religion, gender, age, or background.
Today the Letter to Timothy reminds us of the awaited appearance of “Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1). We then hear Jesus ask, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8) We must ask ourselves whether we tend to give up the struggle to build the kingdom or whether we have enough faith to persevere in prayer and work until God’s victory is complete.
In comparison, today’s scriptures depict God as “the just judge” who offers every person an equal measure of justice. Like the Pharisee in today’s Gospel, we must be careful not to overestimate our own worthiness or to judge the unworthiness of others. Like the apostle Paul, we must realize that, if we are judged to be righteous in the courts of God, it will be based not on our status as Christians, or on our good deeds, or on any other factor by which we might exalt ourselves. Instead, it will be solely because we asked for and relied on God’s mercy. Sirach reminds us that God is swift to hear and respond to every person who cries out for mercy, even those whom the world despises as unworthy. “Those who [are] convinced of their own righteousness and despise everyone else” (Luke 18:9) would be well advised to humble themselves enough to beg for mercy, or they may get a surprise on judgment day!
Blessings, Fr. Sergio Lopez