2nd Sunday of Advent: Justice will reign
Written by Geralyn Tan for Keeping Company. 2013.
The coming of God’s reign will bring peace. It will bring harmony, and restore a balance where all will be put into right relationship.
Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Justice will show itself as deep peace, profound tenderness and overwhelming compassion.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD.
Listen to On That Holy Mountain by Joe Mattingly, which expresses so hopefully not only the ideals of peace and justice, but the promises of them too, provided we are faithful.
In the Gospel passage, we hear of John the Baptist, who lived and preached in the wilderness, outside of towns and villages, far from the comforts the people of Jerusalem, as an example, might have known in the city. One can imagine the coarseness of his appearance. He did not choose fine silk for his clothes or fattened calf and extra-virgin olive oil with pita bread for his diet. He was a stand-out sort of character and he did not fit the norm.
Yet people went to him. They went in droves, outside of their comforts to listen to his preaching and to be baptised by him. Why? Perhaps he was charismatic and could tell a good story. Or perhaps he challenged the people to ‘walk the talk’.
We have seen in the beautiful examples of Pope Francis, the work he does in restoring right relationship, in bringing about the kingdom of God. His embrace of the poor, the excluded and the little ones offers and gives to them, a profound sense of love. Vinicio Riva, the disfigured man whom Francis embraced has spoken out saying that he only felt love. In describing the encounter, he said that it felt like eternity.
In our daily encounters then, we are invited to seek out the poor and the needy, so that we may be bearers of Christ’s light to them through mercy, compassion, tenderness and welcome. In producing good fruit as evidence of our repentance, in walking the words of the good news, we help to bring about this peace.
In what ways might we be as an experience of heavenly peace and harmony for others? In what ways have you experienced this deep sense of unity?