Tuesday of the 1st Week of Advent
Isaiah 11:1-10 –
Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17 Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever
Luke 10: 21-24
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. Is. 11
Justice and peace – two beautiful words. We dream of a world where both are known in their fullness. Taking the ideas separately, most people could define what they think a just world would look like , what a peaceful world would look like. But how to bring about a just world? What IS justice? What kind of peace would your chosen form of justice bring?
We don’t fully understand justice or peace. We think we do, but we are wrong. In today’s 1st reading, Isaiah tries to tell us that the peace of God’s kingdom is not what we imagine. In God’s peaceable kingdom, there is harmony and friendship between groups that normally wish each other eradicated. The adders are not all suddenly toothless, the wolves still have fangs – we are not promised that what we perceive as a threat is not changed in its essence. What IS different are the appetites – the lion now hungers only for hay; the bear for berries; the child for friendship, not dominion.
There were many expectations for those waiting for the Messiah- he would save his people from bad governments, he would overthrow sinful nations, he would exact justice where needed, he would be strong and powerful and mighty.
And he was ALL those things, but not in any way that was expected. Christ came with justice, but his justice was mercy, his power was power to rule our hearts and souls. Jesus was not what they expected. Why should that be different now?
Justice and peace are both worth pursuing, even if we go about it imperfectly. But we must always pray for deeper understanding, for seeing with the heart of God.
“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.” Luke 10:21
Fun Fact – Look up and study the painting Peaceable Kingdom by American painter Edward Hicks (1780-1849). Most of the painting is taken up with animals like Isaiah described, but see who Hicks included on the left. Who would you paint in their place today?