Give it All Back

August 27, 2021  •   Tracy Earl Welliver

family of 3 laughting together

Pop culture has given us a unique idea of the term justice. Justice, we often think, is about taking. Taking what’s owed. Taking revenge. Taking what we deserve. This worldview tends to make mincemeat of our Catholic social teachings. Seeking the good of the poor, a call to community and participation, solidarity — on the face of it, in a society where everything must be earned and we are encouraged to hoard for ourselves whatever success we can achieve, these principles look a lot like highway robbery.

But when you remember the presence of an omnipotent, all-loving and all-merciful God, it turns our gunslinging sense of justice on its head. For how does justice inhabit the same universe as a God who is so quick to give and indeed to forgive?

Well, very easily, when we remember Who exactly is the source of every good and perfect thing in this world. There is no law that cannot be traced back to the Word. And the Word saves our souls.

Is that justice? No, that is a gift. It is the reckless, indulgent gift of a father whose love is greater than His anger. What is justice in the Biblical sense?

The answer is simple. Look at your life. See the hours in your day? See your spouse, your kids, your grandkids? See the house they live in, the money in your wallet, the food in your fridge, the breath in your lungs?

Calling it all your own, refusing to share any of it — that’s robbery. Giving it all back to the One who gave it to you — that’s justice.

— Tracy Earl Welliver, MTS

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