Tuesday of the First Week of Advent, December 1
Jesus Is the Divine Shepherd Who Will Gather His Sheep and Guide Us to a Life of True Justice and Everlasting Peace, for Only in Him Shall We Truly Find Life’s Fulfillment.
“Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever” – hunger for peace and longing for true justice in the hearts of God’s children; something for which men and women of every race and creed, of every age and generation have yearned since man’s fall from grace in the Garden of Eden.
Whether it be healthcare reform, unrest in the Middle East, the state of the economy, job security, world hunger, or any other number of other major social issues, man has always sought to solve the problems which continue to plague him throughout the ages.
And in man’s quest for true justice and peace, there are those who will come forward with voices of hope and optimism. And there are the others, the cynics and the naysayers, who will always speak words of discouragement and opposition. Theirs is a cloud of pessimism which rises up and smothers hopefulness.
And, unfortunately, some of what they profess is very true. It IS an astonishing fact that, in the two thousand years since the birth of Christ, there have been only a handful of years in which there has been no war anywhere in the world! As a people of faith, we yearn for peace, we pray for peace, but we rarely realize it. And that is not what God desires for His children.
In today’s First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, we hear God’s vision of the world in the new age to come, “…the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.”
The scene from Isaiah sounds wonderful, almost too good to be true. So, then, why doesn’t it happen in our world today? Why is this imagery so elusive? The answer for each of us can be found in the mirrors we look into each day. Most of us have not yet learned the art and the habit of being peacemakers – makers and builders of a true and lasting peace.
History reveals that many of God’s children are quite good at ducking or running away from conflict. But that isn’t building peace. On the contrary, running away generally leaves important issues unresolved, unhealed, and waiting to rise up again, only in a more virulent form!
So if we are to be a people one day who embrace the idea of a lasting peace and true justice in the world which we live, then we must rethink and reprioritize our values in a world culture which seems morally bankrupt and which has lost its way.
And such was the case when God looked into the hearts and minds of His children millennia ago, and He was filled with compassion. The Eternal Father in Heaven saw that we were like sheep without a shepherd, aimlessly wandering through life. Man’s longing for true peace but never experiencing it – was NOT God’s plan for His creation.
From the very moment that man’s relationship with God was fractured through the fall of Adam and Eve, God promised that He would send His children a Redeemer, so that all mankind would be reconciled to their Creator.
And we hear this promise repeated in today’s First Reading, “A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A Spirit of counsel and of strength, a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.”
And God continues to speak to us through Isaiah saying, “Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.”
You and I have been gifted with a most wondrous faith – the faith in knowing that God freely loves each of us beyond all human understanding and fulfills all His promises, a faith in knowing that God does not abandon His children in our sinfulness, but instead sends us His Only-Begotten Son so that we may once again be made whole.
And this Jesus, to whom we open our hearts in adoration and love, teaches us in today’s Gospel that we owe everything – our life, our faith, all that we possess in this life, all that we will become in eternity – to our Heavenly Father.
For even our Lord Himself, who is the Eternal and Divine Son of God, does not hesitate to give thanksgiving to His Father when we read in today’s Gospel, “I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.”
And turning to His disciples, He says, “All things have been handed over to me by my Father.”
Jesus is the fulfillment of what we read in Isaiah. Jesus is the Divine Shepherd who will gather His sheep and guide us to a life of true justice and everlasting peace, for He is the ONLY One who can make the imagery from Isaiah a reality.
For only in Him shall we truly find life’s fulfillment. Only in Him shall we find our true rest. And only in Him do the words of today’s Responsorial Antiphon resonate within each one of us, “Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.”
In the life of faith which you and I live today, even though we have not seen what His disciples had seen, even though we have not heard what His disciples had heard, we have believed!
And, for our belief, we have been and will continue to be truly blessed! †
Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.
Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.
Scripture for the Day
- “Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.” (Isaiah 11:5-6)
- “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.” (Isaiah 11:1-3a)
- “In his days may righteousness flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!” (Psalm 72:7)
- “Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide, but he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.” (Isaiah 11:3b-4b)
- “…no judgment of his mouth is false. Balance and scales belong to the LORD.” (Proverbs 16:10b-11a)
- “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones.” (Hebrews 6:10)
- “At that very moment [Jesus] rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, ‘I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.’” (Luke 10:21)
- “All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.” (Luke 10:22)
- “Turning to the disciples in private he said, ‘Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I say to you, many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.’” (Luke 10:23-24)
- “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen…without faith, it is impossible to please [God], for anyone who approaches God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:1, 6)
- “I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me…and they will hear my voice, and there will be one flock, one shepherd.” (John 10:14, 16b)
Prayer for the Day
“Father, I abandon myself into Your hands;
do with me what You will.
Whatever You may do, I thank You:
I am ready for all, I accept all.
“Let only Your will be done in me,
and in all Your creatures;
I wish no more than this, O Lord.
“Into Your hands, I commend my soul:Charles de Foucauld
I offer it to You with all the love of my heart,
for I love You, Lord, and so need to give myself,
to surrender myself into Your hands without reserve
and with boundless confidence, for You are my Father.”