GOD IS NOT IMPARTIAL
Jesus’ parable reflects an all too common situation in the Galilee of his times. A corrupt judge arrogantly despises a poor widow who pleads for justice. The woman’s case seems hopeless, since she has no man to defend her. She however, far from being resigned, keeps crying out her rights. Only at the end, bothered by so much insistence, does the judge end up listening to her.
Luke presents the story as an exhortation to pray without «losing heart», but the parable holds a previous message, very loved by Jesus. This judge is the «anti-metaphor» of God, whose justice consists precisely in listening to the most vulnerable poor.
The symbol of justice in the Grecian-Roman world is a woman who, with her eyes blindfolded, imparts a verdict supposedly «impartial». According to Jesus, God isn’t this type of impartial judge. God doesn’t have eyes blindfolded. God knows very well the injustices that are committed against the weak, and God’s mercy makes God bend in favor of them.
This «partiality» of God’s justice toward the weak is a scandal for our middle-class ears, but it’s worth remembering, since in modern society there functions another «partiality» from the opposite direction: justice favors more the powerful than the weak. How is God not going to be on the side of those who can’t defend themselves?
We believe ourselves to be progressives, theoretically defending that «all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights», but we all know that it’s false. In order to enjoy real and effective rights it’s more important to be born in a powerful and rich country than to be someone in a poor country.
Modern democracies concern themselves with the poor, but the center of their attention isn’t the defenseless, but citizens in general. In the Church we make efforts to relieve the fate of the needy, but the center of our concerns isn’t in the suffering of the least, but the moral and religious life of Christians. It’s good that Jesus reminds us that those who are most destitute are the one who occupy God’s heart.
Their name never appears in the newspaper. No one yields space in any place. They don’t have titles or enviable bank accounts, but they’re great. They don’t possess much wealth, but they have something that money can’t buy: goodness, capacity of welcome, kindness and compassion toward those in need.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf