Epiphany – Year A
Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14
The oppressed, facing violence in their lives, cry out, "Give the king, the premier, the president, the prime minister, the leader of any title, your justice, O G*D!" with an implication that the reception and implementation of such justice can be measured by a reduction and removal of oppression and violence.
As always, the language of our appeals needs to be simultaneously individual and communal. Should the leaders of community have the justice of G*D, they would find a way to distribute both their leadership and their justice.
It is not sufficient that one leader be just if the system around them perpetrates injustice.
A sign of a just leader is an increasingly just community with fewer and fewer needy calling and fewer and fewer weak needing pity. There is a presumption here that the gap of justice between the rich and the poor will be narrowing, not widening, and a sign of this is that those who have much will not have too much and those who have little will not have too little.
The psalm might be translated for the economic barons, middle managers, forepeople, laborers, union organizers, and religious leaders from chief priests and popes and bishops to chairpersons of altar guilds. Each one needs to see themself as the one to whom justice is given. Until we each understand ourself as the fulcrum point of justice, the plea for justice will continue to ring out.
Justice delayed is justice denied. Justice for some is justice denied. Justice is not simply individual, but communal.
Justice is an important light to lift for us to see and to imagine the epiphany it might yet bring about in our midst.
Yes, demand justice from others, particularly those in recognized positions of leadership, but do not forget to put your own name and vocation into the list – Give me and those who are with me in my vocation your justice, O G*D!