Complete the circle
By George Evans
I am writing this column during the first week of Advent. After hearing the voice of Isaiah from the Lectionary on Tuesday and Wednesday I knew I had my choice of topic as I stared at my blank computer screen. I find these two passages from Isaiah, 11:1-10 and 25:6-10, as the most meaningful, uplifting, inspiring and beautiful of anything in the Old Testament prophets. Please read them and join me in this Advent reflection.
“A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” Why is this shoot so special? Because, “The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him.” And because of this ‘’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.”
This special one shall wear “Justice as the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” As Catholic Christians we know this special one in Isaiah’s prophecy is Jesus whose birth we wait with anticipation to celebrate shortly once again. To do so well we must wear justice as a band around our waist and judge the poor accordingly not by appearances or hearsay. We must sprout because the Spirit of the Lord has rested upon us as He did upon Jesus. Isaiah then paints the magnificent vision of what will happen when all the above takes place.
The wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the young lion, the cow and the bear, the lion and the ox shall all lie down together and be at peace and “There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord, as water covers the sea.”
The knowledge of the Lord shall do all these things. It does it for us as well. Democrats and Republicans shall cooperate and rule for the good of all, progressive and conservative Catholics shall drop their anathemas directed at each other and embrace for the good of Christ’s body, the church. Rich and poor shall share the goods of creation given to all by the Lord of all and do the necessary tough work together to heal the scars of poverty, resentment, prejudice and fear in our culture. Our systems will be changed so that all prosper by the efforts of each other.
Isaiah’s Wednesday passage is so special I want it read at my funeral. “On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.”
Everyone gets great food and wine. No one can complain about that but we must all cooperate with the Lord to make it come true. And if we do, that same Lord will “Destroy death forever. The Lord God will wipe away the tears from all faces.” That intimacy we all long for with the Lord which St. Augustine and all saints proclaim will finally be realized.
“On that day it will be said: Behold our God, to whom we looked to save us! This is the Lord for whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us! For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain.”
The Jesus we long for again in this Advent season, though already with us, will come again in the blessed spirit of Christmas so that in the neediness of our flesh and blood we can be nourished in the incarnation of God into flesh and blood to forever show us the way and give us a model to follow.
Isaiah tells us what God will bring from the shoot from the stump of Jesse, how He will impact the world we live in, how He will bring peace and harmony to the animals and children, how on His holy mountain there will be no more harm or ruin for anyone. He invites us to eat rich food and drink choice wines, to have our tears wiped away forever, to rejoice and be glad that he has saved us.
We now need to buy in as He has taught us. To believe in Him as Lord and Savior, to seek and follow the will of the Father, to pick up our cross and follow him, to be a servant and not a master. To love unconditionally as He has loved us. To let love and compassion rule in our lives rather than anger and greed and to be active rather than passive. To welcome him again at Christmas with open arms and sheer delight. To enjoy rich food and choice wines and be glad and grateful that He has saved us.
(George Evans is a pastoral minister at Jackson St. Richard Parish.)
Complete the circle