When we talk about Christian love, do we forget to talk about Justice? Today’s first reading (click here to read it) reminds us that God cares about justice. Human life is difficult, and as we can see from reading the news, justice does not always rule the world. This can be frustrating; even if we strive for justice, or seek truth, the truth is not always easy to come by. Although we might recoil somewhat at the language of Malachi and his language of fire and destruction for those who do evil, perhaps a better way to think of it is to think of injustice itself as “going up in flames,” metaphorically speaking. God cares about injustice and works against it. While we are invited to work for justice, too, alongside God as God’s companions, it is reassuring when we feel powerless to know that it is not all on us. God is truth seeking. God is justice seeking. God can guide us in living the lives that we do. Minimally, God invites us to live well even when others do not; to be faithful to justice even when others are not, so that at least we do not add to the evil in the world.
But there is more to the passage from Malachi than this. Malachi also speaks of healing. He uses the image of the sun’s healing rays. We all know the delight of the sun and its warmth after cold and gray days. Sunlight is not something we create, or something that we give ourselves. Sunlight is a gift, something that we passively receive that then invigorates us to go on and “spread the love” in our daily lives. Prayer itself can be akin to the warming rays of the sun, that feeds and restores our souls. God promises us more than justice; God promises healing after injustice, if we allow ourselves to receive it from God, the only one who is truly Justice itself.