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Await Justice Like a Child

First Reading: 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 neighbors,
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. 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 flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
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. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
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. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.
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. Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

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.”

NAB

dec 1

When I was young my dad collected prints of The Peaceable Kingdom, the scene described in Isaiah of the lion lying down with the lamb (among other natural predators) and a little child among them.  When my father latches on to an interest it becomes quite the obsession, and so some form of this picture decorated many of the square feet of the home of my childhood. And what better image for a child grow up with?

The word-picture that Isaiah paints is one of great hope: that a day is coming when all death will cease, when wrong things will be made right, when there will be no more fear or grief. A day is coming when true peace and justice will reign. As a child, that picture confirmed something I instinctively knew in my heart: we were always meant to live in Eden, and Jesus would take us back there one day.

As an adult now, it’s easy to feel disillusioned and doubtful that the peace and justice Isaiah describes will ever truly come. All it takes is a quick glance at the newspaper, or even a look into our own communities, to see how very far we are from that dream. Especially in this information age, we are constantly inundated with news of acts of terror, violence, and gross injustice. Hope often feels far, far away.

But then I read the words of Jesus, and I remember how He implores us to see as children do. Children trust Him to do what He says He will do. Children believe that that He can and will come back and right all the wrongs. Children live free because they know that this is Good News. So this Advent, I’m praying for childlike eyes to see the hidden things of God.

What can you learn from the children in your life regarding faith and justice? Pray for the childlikeness that pleases Jesus.

photo by Sara Miller

Shannon Evans is a Protestant missionary turned Catholic convert who lived to tell the tale. An adoptive and biological mom of two boys, she enjoys hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. You can find out more about her here.

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