BY TIMMY LAKE | March 8, 2021
Today’s Readings

Justice is commonly thought of as grand gestures, massive, sweeping changes, or divine intervention. In my experience, at least, justice has been anything but. Just as the King of Israel questions, “Am I a god with power over life or death?” I think it’s safe to assume that the answer for a majority of us, particularly young adults like me, is no. If we hold out our hands and wait for a magic wand to cure all problems and injustices, like Naaman, we will never see justice.

kindness and justice

More often than not, in my experience, opportunities to bring about justice existed in my (relatively small) spheres of influence. For example, I have heard many of my fellow high school students say, “Well, I would love to advocate for social justice, but I just don’t know where to start.” In my high school career, working towards justice has begun with observation. I noticed injustices as they arose at school: white students using slurs to refer to BIPOC students, students using slurs to describe LGBTQIA+ students, a homophobic passage in my junior theology textbook, and affluent students ostracizing our economically disadvantaged classmates, to give you an idea. After observation comes kindness. 

Kindness is a perfect complement to justice. The synergy between justice and kindness is a manifestation of our call to share radical love for one another. Although justice necessitates action to actively dismantle systems of privilege and oppression, we can begin our work towards justice by showing kindness specifically to those most vulnerable to injustice around us. As my mother says, “You don’t have to be everyone’s friend, but you have to be nice to everyone.” In these turbulent times, working towards justice seems unfathomable; kindness is a good place to start, particularly towards the most vulnerable among us.

For Reflection: 

  • Where are you called to work for justice? How can kindness help create a space of inclusion, welcome, and solidarity as a starting point? 

8 replies
  1. Candace Fisher
    Candace Fisher says:

    As I read Timmy’s meditation, I was blown away by the deep thoughts of this young person. It made me ashamed of the lack of depth I had at that age, but then I took his advice to heart and treated my slow learner self with kindness. Timmy gives me hope for our hurting world. Psalm 85: Kindness and truth shall meet;justice and peace shall kiss.

    Reply
  2. Antonio J. Rodriguez
    Antonio J. Rodriguez says:

    San Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga, a Chilean Jesuit who was canonized in 1953, used to say and I am a firm believer of what the phrase expresses:

    Charity begins where justice ends/ La caridad comienza donde termina la justicia.

    Reply
  3. Mary Gramins
    Mary Gramins says:

    Special thanks to Timmy for his thoughtful reflection this morning. His words are proof that wisdom is not based on the number of years lived, but on how you are living those years. I wish everyone could take his wise words to heart and act on them. As I read, I was reminded of Dr. King’s quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

    Reply
  4. Rainey Lamey
    Rainey Lamey says:

    Thank you, Timmy, for your primary message of kindness and justice. And, please accept my gratitude for the extra message of hope, implicit in you being a young person living the good news in the trying environment known as U.S. high school and adolescence. Happy Lenting!! Rainey

    Reply
  5. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Timmy Lake reminded me of the person I sat next to for the RCIA Scrutinizes. He has continuously told of his interactions (during our classes) in the medical profession and how he calls for justice in every way he can. It is a joy to have young people so entrenched in the Word of God and how they manifest it daily with joy and hope. Wisdom comes from within and it is not a product of years on earth. The justice and wisdom we hear and see manifest in others gives us the strength to do so. This provides the transformation of the world that we are striving for. A world in which I am ‘present’ and willing to attend to the needs of the person I am with.

    Reply
  6. Karen
    Karen says:

    As the other writers have commented, it was so uplifting to read a teenager’s words of wisdom, and I, too, thank you Timmy. You remind me of how hopeful I felt about “changing the world” when I was in high school, and college, and my early career. Somehow, as the years have passed it has felt more complex – but being reminded first and foremost, just…be….kind. Kindness. Love. Compassion. Presence. I shall ponder your reflections, Timmy, as I discern what God’s current plan is for me to be a “more mature” worker hoping for a more socially just world. Blessings and gratitude.

    Reply

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