By Rev Fr John Damian Adizie, OCD
We tend to pay more attention to irrelevant things and thereby neglect the important values. Our Lord Jesus Christ told religious leaders of his time, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint…, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith” (Matthew 23:23) . Justice, mercy and faith are indeed the essence of our religion. They are indispen-sable principles.
JUSTICE: The Prophet Micah raised an important question, “What does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Justice is the first requirement.
The Quran declares, “Ind-eed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice” (Surah 4:58).
Justice has to do with fair-ness and impartiality. It has to do with equal res-pect and treatment irres-pective of people’s reli-gion, tribe and status. Pope Francis describes justice as the essence of peace: According to him, “Where there is no justice, there cannot be pea-ce.” No justice, no peace!
MERCY: Our God is a Merciful God. In the Hebrew Bible, the Lord God introduced himself as a Me-rciful God: “The Lord, the Lord, a God, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faith-fulness, According to Surah 4:129 of the Muslim Quaran “Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.” In the New Testament, our Lord Jesus Christ told his followers, “Be merciful, just as your Father is mer-ciful” (Luke 6:36). Children of God are called to be merciful.
Mercy is all that is requir-ed of every child of God. In Matthew 9:13 our Lord Jesus Christ declares, “‘I desire mercy, not sacrifi-ce.” Sacrifice is important but it is not as important as mercy. There is a spe-cial reward for every merciful act. As Jesus declares, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obt-ain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). The best and only way to obtain mercy from God is through mercy. The more merciful we are the more mercy we are likely to obt-ain from God.
FAITH: The essence of most religion is faith. The author of Hebrews declar-es: “Without faith it is imp-ossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
According to the Quran, “Those who have believed and done righteous deeds – their Lord will guide them because of their faith.” Faith is the channel thr-ough which we are con-nected with God. It is the means through which we can please God. With faith all things are possible.
Child of God, as you believe in God through faith, the Lord will be merciful to you and He will use you as a channel of justice and peace through Christ our Lord- Amen!