THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD
God will make a new beginning with people in the Messiah, in Jesus. He is the young shoot sprouting from the roots of the stump from the line of David and God’s Spirit rests on him. He will bring peace – not the peace of resignation and the status quo, but the peace and harmony in the world that comes even to the poorest from justice, loyalty and integrity. In his own self 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, 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, also today, in this Advent.
Lord our God,
you never give up on people.
Again and again you want to make
a new beginning with us.
You showed us in Jesus your Son
the kind of people you want us to be.
As your Spirit rested on him,
pour out on us the same Spirit,
that we may see our mission in life
with your wisdom and insight
and that we may have the strength
to live as we believe and hope.
Grant us this through Christ our Lord. Amen!
1 Reading: 1 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 PS 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.
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 LG chairmen, mayors, 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 fact, it is from these Isaiah’s verses that the Church drew the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
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.
Let us pray that the Spirit of God may work in us: Lord, fill us with your Spirit.
– Give us your Spirit of understanding, that we may know and understand you, our world and ourselves, we pray:
– Give us your Spirit of wisdom, that we may see even the wisdom of the cross and of suffering and grow through it, we pray:
– Give us the Spirit of justice and love, that we may honestly serve people, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
Lord our God,
we bring before you
this bread and this wine.
Change these gifts through your Holy Spirit
into the body and blood of your Son
and change us into a people
in whom your Son dwells
with all his faithfulness and justice,
that we may live in your peace
now and for ever. Amen!
Prayer after Communion
God, in this Eucharist
we have offered you our goodwill
and you have given us your Son.
Make us aware of the indigence of our hearts,
that we may see the great things
you can do in us and through us,
and that we may be open to your gifts.
Help us to grow to full stature
and to give the full measure
of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen!
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 these would change us and our world! May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!