The parable of the unjust judge
Last Sunday's Gospel touches on something very relevant to us in Malaysia today with the Appeals Court overturning the decision of the High Court that allowed the to use the word Allah in the Bahasa Malaysia edition of Herald. As a matter of fact, the ruling now extends to wider aspects as it is now taken to mean that non-Muslims in general are forbidden from using the word, which means it is exclusively for Muslims only. What was a small and non-issue has become major contention that seemed to further distance the Muslims and non-Muslims in the country.
Going by historical facts and the nation’s constitution we all know for certain that Allah is not solely for Muslims but we have 3 senior judges in the country who ruled against that universally accepted fact.
The Christians in particular and non-Muslim Malaysians in general are disgusted with the ruling which they say is unjust and goes against the spirit of the federal constitution on the freedom of worship. The only consolation they have is that the verdict has made the judges, the judiciary and the Malaysian government led by Umno a laughing stock in the eyes of international community. The politicization of Islam by Umno and its supporters have made the country the look stupid and unjust which is a poor reflection of the Muslims in the country, the majority of whom are moderate and do not agree with the court ruling.
Has the Church achieved what it wanted by taking this issue to the courts, knowing very well they will never get justice? Will it pursue the matter further by appealing to the Federal Court? There are many opinions and we wait for the experts in the church to make the decision on the net course of action.
There are those who say that Jesus in the gospel in relating the story of the unjust judge who gives in to a widow who was persistent in seeking justice was indeed supporting our fight for justice. They say like the widow the church too should continue to press on with its peaceful and legal means to get justice and if we are persistent one day we will get it. But others say that such a fight should be on issues that are more important rather than on trivial ones like using the word Allah. Does the use of Allah the most important issue facing the Church and Christians in Malaysia today?
Jesus message appears contradictory when he said, “I promise you, He will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of man comes, will He find any faith on earth?'.
Having faith in Jesus is to be diligently following what he taught us by his words and deeds on earth – love, humility and forgiveness, with great patience and trust. That is why he asked whether He will find that faith among us when He finally comes. Yes, God will grant us justice if we continue to fight for it but that so-called justice must not be for selfish purposes but for the good of all, especially the poor, despised and oppressed. The fight should reflect our love and forgiveness for even our enemies. That is what faith is all about.
The fight over the word Allah is just one of the many fights against injustice in our lives. In our fight for justice we too need that faith in Jesus by being faithful to what he taught us. Do we have that faith that he asked of us?
Sunday Gospel 20 Oct.2013
1 Then he told them a parable about the need to pray continually and never lose heart.
2 'There was a judge in a certain town,' he said, 'who had neither fear of God nor respect for anyone.
3 In the same town there was also a widow who kept on coming to him and saying, "I want justice from you against my enemy!"
4 For a long time he refused, but at last he said to himself, "Even though I have neither fear of God nor respect for any human person,
5 I must give this widow her just rights since she keeps pestering me, or she will come and slap me in the face." '
6 And the Lord said, 'You notice what the unjust judge has to say?
7 Now, will not God see justice done to his elect if they keep calling to him day and night even though he still delays to help them?
8 I promise you, he will see justice done to them, and done speedily. But when the Son of man comes, will he find any faith on earth?'