Today’s liturgy begins with the theme of the law: “guide us according to your law of love because all mankind is in need of your law; the just one ... reproaches us for transgressions of the law.”
Notice that this is a law of love, and therefore it concerns the rightness of human relationships, in other words, justice: “the perfection of justice is found in your love ... help us to find this love in each other that justice may be attained.”
The result of following the law of love and establishing justice is harmony within the human family: “the harvest of justice is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace” (Second Reading).
There is a direct line, therefore, from love through justice to peace. The recognition of this line constitutes the essence of wisdom, which is “peaceable, lenient, docile, rich in sympathy and the kindly deeds that are its fruit” (Second Reading).
It is in this context that we encounter the Gospel, a passage that includes the images of the cross and the child. One way to interpret this would be to say that we approach the triple challenge of love, justice and peace with childlike humility, and we anticipate that our response to that challenge will bring us the cross.
Love for others, and in the first place love for the poor, in whom the church sees Christ himself, is made concrete in the promotion of justice.
John Paul II, Centesimus Annus 1991: 58
True peace is never simply the result of military victory, but rather implies both the removal of the causes of war and genuine reconciliation between peoples.
John Paul II, Centesimus Annus 1991: 18