Standing up 

My eye caught a report in the news lately of a courageous Indonesian who is engaged in the struggle against injustice in her country.

Source: Standing up – The Zimbabwean

Yuliana Langowuyo is a law graduate of Cenderawasa University in Jayapura, Indonesia, and she has accepted the job of leading the Papua branch of the Catholic Justice and Peace Commission. The threat of terror and intimidation are part of the risk people take in fighting injustice in Papua, says the 36-year-old lawyer who is gaining a reputation as an ‘iron lady’. She was hesitant as a lay woman but she set her doubts aside. ‘It was intimidating at first to work among priests who were smart and possessed excellent leadership skills. But they welcomed me and gave me the space to develop dialogue and communication’, she said. ‘We all have the same goal: peace in Papua’.

This Sunday we read the words of Jesus which he took from the ancient law of Israel and manifested in his own life: ‘Love God and love others as yourself’. We have come to realise that justice does not come easily anywhere and every country has had to struggle for it. Those in power do not cede their privileges unless there is both a constitution which sets limits to power and the civic muscle to ensure compliance with that constitution. Much as he would love to continue in power if he loses the election Trump knows there is no possibility whatever of his manipulating the results in his favour.

So it is a simple call: ‘love others’! I saw a picture of it scrawled on a London street last week showing that Covid 19 has drummed the message into our dull skulls. But it is a call many continue to ignore in the headlong selfish lust for power. It is painful to have to continually remind ourselves that no change comes without selfless sacrifice, the sort Langowuyo lives. We look at the situation in our countries and lament that so much suffering still awaits those who struggle to bring justice and peace.

Yet if we are to be true to our destiny as humans our whole life has to be founded on the desire to be fulfilled beyond our dreams. And we can only do this if we find our home in the One who made us. From him we come and to him we go. Jesus was the first Jewish teacher to join the two sayings from the law – love of God (Deuteronomy 6:4-5) and love of others (Leviticus 19:18) – together. If I understand the Greek word correctly, for him they were ‘the same’. You can’t have one without the other. You can’t wave a bible in the air and then build walls to stop people having a dignified life.

25 October 2020         Sunday 30 A         Ex 22:20-26          1Th 1:5-10       Matt 22:34-40