Thoughts on the First Readings – Joe Frankenfield
“You’re going to be tempted many times to count the cost of love and ask yourself whether or not you’re getting your fair share of the pie. The biggest threat to marriage is the desire for fairness. The whole idea of fairness is nonsense; get over it before you stand in front of the altar or you’re through before you start. Give as much as you can and don’t keep score.”
These were words that a friend’s father spoke to him shortly before his wedding. Not only are they observations from a good marriage, they are observations from the heart of life. We hear and talk a lot about fairness but everyone who thinks deeply about life knows that fairness has little to do with anything. It’s not fair that we’re conceived; it’s not fair that we survive to adulthood; it’s not fair that people love us; it’s not fair that we die.
The key to life is justice as scripture uses the word: the will of God for creation. The quest for justice is the effort to treat all of creation – especially human beings – as God wants it treated. Jesus is our model for just living. Often the Hebrew Scriptures offer models of justice but not consistently.
The tale of Abraham cajoling God into sparing an entire city for the sake of a handful of righteous people is a great story. It has humor that we rarely associate with the absolute rule of Abraham’s God but it gives a hint of the justice that Jesus will reveal centuries later. God’s love is never fair; it’s absolute and forever. It’s the kind of love that we would like to give others if we could only conquer our fears and insecurities. It’s the love we pray to imitate.