(Also: St Francis Xavier)
Imbibing The Spirit Of The Lord This Advent
God will make a new beginning with the people in Jesus the Messiah. He is the young shoot sprouting from the roots of the stump from the line of David. God’s Spirit rests on him. He will bring peace – not the peace of resignation and the preservation of status quo. It is the peace and harmony that comes even to the poorest, springing from justice, loyalty and integrity. By his example, he will show us what we are meant to be and what we can do with our human potentials if we let God work in us, if God’s spirit is present in us, if we learn to think with God’s wisdom and insight, if we act with his power, and if we respect God’s order.
It is those who realize their own indigence, says Jesus, who are receptive to God’s gifts. With such people, Jesus can make his new beginning in this Advent.
1 Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
On that day, 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. 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. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. 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 kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbours, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair. 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. On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.
Responsorial Psalm: 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
R. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
O God, with your judgment endow the king,
and with your justice, the king’s son;
He shall govern your people with justice
and your afflicted ones with judgment. R.
Justice shall flower in his days,
and profound peace, till the moon be no more.
May he rule from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth. R.
He shall rescue the poor when he cries out,
and the afflicted when he has no one to help him.
He shall have pity for the lowly and the poor;
the lives of the poor he shall save. R.
May his name be blessed forever;
as long as the sun his name shall remain.
In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed;
all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. R.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Behold, our Lord shall come with power;
he will enlighten the eyes of his servants.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Luke 10:21-24
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. 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.” 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.”
Jesus speaks of the prophets and kings who did not live to see the age of the messiah. Isaiah was one of these, and yet he gave a striking picture of that age to come. Today’s first reading is an illustration of this. The final age will be one of restoration, and the imagery with which Isaiah describes it is unmatched. There will be harmony and peace that extend to the whole of creation, and the human being stands at the very pinnacle of restoration in this newfound friendship with the Creator.
The messiah, the royal descendant of David, stands as a model for Christians who hold public office, whether as local councilors, governors, or judges. They should couple wisdom with understanding, upholding the law but always recognizing the circumstances of the people they govern. Their calling excludes arrogance as well as partiality. Above all, public office should never be used for personal gain. Corruption should never be tolerated, and all people should be seen as equal under the law. This is the “spirit” of counsel, strength, wisdom, and fear of the Lord.
In a special way, justice shall be accorded the poor; the voiceless shall find a voice. Nothing is more in accord with the spirit of reconciliation than this. It is easy for public officials to heed the wishes of their affluent constituents, or of people who represent powerful special interests, while ignoring the concerns of citizens who have no real power or wealth. If we really do live in the final age, the age of Christ, then our policies should reflect this belief. It is hard to believe that millions in this world, where plenty abounds for the affluent, live in miserable hovels, subsist on a limited amount of rice each day, and often succumb to deadly disease. In some developing countries, mothers watch as their infants waste away or feel compelled to let their young children work grueling hours so that their families can survive. Our Christian goal must always be a place at the table of plenty for all people, especially the most needy.
Today’s psalm extols the actions of a God who will bring justice to the oppressed and abundance to the impoverished.
If only Christ would be more alive among us! If only we would truly and fully live his message! If we would only let his Holy Spirit animate us! How all of these would change us and our world! May Almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!