We heard in the reading: When Jacob’s children see the work of God’s hands in their midst, they shall receive instruction and acquire understanding. Growing in awareness of God’s presence among them will fill them with awe, as they come to realize the Holy One’s power to redeem a world troubled by tyranny, poverty, and the evils of social injustice.
When we study the Word of God, we ask the Spirit to teach us how to live as people of faith. Looking out at the world around us today, we see a sad resemblance to the gloom described by the prophet Isaiah. We hear arrogant words of condemnation and hatred. In these days of national division and global conflict, I sometimes find it difficult to discern where God is at work.
Yet the word of the prophet assures us that God comes to meet us in the midst of this darkness. Jesus was born into a world of imperialist exploitation; He lived among an oppressed people. We can imagine Jesus from an early age, studying Hebrew Scripture, learning about the promised Messiah, and envisioning the coming Reign of God. Observing the world around him, he saw how the poor were oppressed by the tyranny of Gentile rulers and the arrogance of hypocritical Pharisees. In response, He committed his ministry to resisting these forces so that the lowly might find joy.
During this Advent season, may we follow Jesus’ example, studying the Gospels and reading the signs of the times, so that we might understand how to work for justice and peace. Let us cling fast to the hopeful promise of unity in Christ our Lord.