Wednesday, December 14, 2011

According to Your Word - Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

(Image of the Advent wreath is from ImageVine/courtesy of All rights reserved.)

(Is 45:6-8, 18, 21-25; Lk 7:18-23)

Isaiah announces to us in this reading that there is only one true God, the Lord God of Israel, who is the “vindication and the glory of all the descendants of Israel.” These descendants include us; God is our only vindication whose glory radiates down, soaks into every fiber of our being and makes us holy. God's decrees are just and beneficial for his children, and his word, once uttered, cannot be changed. Yet, there is nothing to be feared from his word since it is just and not arbitrary.

The Lord calls us to justice: “Let justice dew from above,” let justice spring up from the earth and from the hearts of my people Israel. Pope Paul VI had once said, “If you want peace, work for justice.” He meant social justice. We cry out for peace, the world cries out for peace; but there is no peace because many individual lives, and the policies of not a few nations, are based on injustice, above all against the weak and poor.

Unless our lives, and the socio-economic programs of nations, are predicated on justice, there will be no peace. Charity begins at home; however, it cannot end there, but must flow out beyond the perimeters of our own self-interests.

John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod because he had denounced Herod for his on-going adultery. John languished in jail, and while he was there his disciples had told him about the miracles that Jesus was performing among the people.

When we are educated, have money, status, good health and freedom of movement, we feel that the world is our oyster. But, take away these sources of well-being and we begin to withdraw into ourselves and the scourge of mental illness makes its presence felt by stages. We start losing our equilibrium; what we had believed was normal, true and ours by right are now desperately questioned.

It seems that John, while he suffered imprisonment, began to wonder if Jesus was the Holy One of God. So, he sent his disciples to Jesus to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the poor have the Good News proclaimed to them and blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” All of these were the signs, that were written by the prophet Isaiah (35: 4-6) of the coming of the long-awaited Messiah into his kingdom. John was sure to understand Jesus' words, and by understanding them, would be consoled and at peace.

– Fr. Cyprian Mercieca, T.O.R.