2 Thess 2:1-3a, 14-17
There is a verse in one of the prophets of the Old Testament, the prophet Micah, which many people feel drawn to. ‘What is it that the Lord requires of you but to do justice, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?’ To do justice is to give people what is their due as human beings and as images of God. To love mercy is to show mercy to others in the sense of forgiving others and serving them in their need.
To walk humbly with your God is to be open in faith to God’s purpose and desire for our lives. These three basic attitudes are a summary of God’s will for our lives. It is possible that this text from the prophet Micah lies behind what Jesus calls in today’s gospel reading, the weightier matters of the law, ‘justice, mercy and good faith’. Jesus was accusing the religious experts of his day of being too preoccupied with the less important requirements of the Jesus law, such as what products should be tithed, and neglecting these weightier matters of the law.
That triad of justice, mercy and faith remains a very succinct statement of what the Lord desires from us in our own day. In a sense, those three elements correspond to the two great commandments that Jesus proclaimed. The first commandment, to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength corresponds to faith and the second commandment, to love our neighbour as ourselves corresponds to justice and mercy. These remain the weightier matters of our own Christian tradition.
All the other elements of our tradition need to be at the service of these two commandments and these three attitudes of heart, justice, mercy and faith.
Fr John Peter