Friday, January 21, 2011

Kindness and Truth, Justice and Peace

The images given in the Responsorial Psalm for today's Mass (Psalm 85) is one of my favorites. "Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss." We sometimes think of these as mutually exclusive, at least in how we perceive them. We see it as a kindness not to tell someone the truth; when I demand justice, I am far from feeling peaceful. How wrong we are!
In the example of Christ, we can see how it is not only possible but preferable to live these principles in unity and contemporaneously. Can anyone say that Jesus spoke anything  but the truth? Yet we marvel at His kindness. Justice for all, especially those who were considered somehow inferior, marked the words and actions of this Prince of Peace.
I must admit, sometimes I can get carried away with one or the other. I can speak what I know to be the truth in a way that is anything but kind. Or, conversely, "bend" the truth so that I can be seen as kind, even though the greater kindness is always telling the truth in a loving way. How often do I remain silent in the face of injustice, just to keep a false sense of peace? Or prepare to go to "war" over what I believe is a matter of "justice" but is, in fact, my own opinion?
Psalm 85 can act as a brake on these tendencies, if I remember to use  it. Please, God, help me to remember this day that kindness, truth, justice and peace are not mutually exclusive, but rather different glimpses of Your presence in our midst.

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