January 3, 2013
The first clause of the first sentence of today's first reading captured my mind. What does the phrase "righteous God mean to me especially in a biblical and/or theological context? Don't we pass over such words rather easily? The Hebrew bible uses the phrase "righteous" God more than 500 times. In Nehemiah 9:7-8 the frequent use of the phrase refers to Yahweh's fidelity to the covenant. In the New Testament the phrase is used more than 200 times to signify the consequence of upright moral action in accord with some kind of divine plan. St. Paul sees and teaches that righteousness comes by faith.
We live in a time of the world's history when "righteousness" is a strange, rarely used word. Furthermore our times are marked by an infrequent use of this word. Yet, it might be a strange sounding sentence to say there might be a genuine need for some people to call others to treat others with righteousness!
Perhaps our bumping into what some might consider a word from the too distant past during this first week of the new calendar year may be a signal. Maybe God is calling some of us to establish more clearly and strongly in our lives an effort to bring "righteousness" awareness back to our communities. Such an action might well surprise some folks. I believe our Baptism and Confirmation challenge us to make righteousness a reality in our lives and to call it for what it is. Just using the word in conversation could be a thought stopper that brings an awareness of moral and ethical practices.
See what using a rarely used phrase can bring about!