Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Tuesday in the 1st Week of Advent
The Joy of Being Sent


Readings: Isaiah 11:1-10; Psalm 72:1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17; Luke 10:21-24

The description in the first reading of the Day of the Lord is nothing short of incredible, isn’t it? Wolf lives with lamb, panther lies down with kid, calf and lion cub feed together, young child puts hand in viper’s lair… And these things will perhaps seem even more marvelous when we see that they also represent the fullness of human flourishing that the Lord brings. In his days justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails. Considering these wonders we cannot but imagine and recall our own yearning for justice and peace, among nations and peoples, in our country and communities, in our families and within our own minds and hearts… We cannot but think of a world without hatred and terror, without poverty and disease, where all will live in the love of God and neighbour.

More importantly, however, the gospel reminds us that that marvelous Day for which we all long has already arrived! That One of whom Isaiah speaks, the shoot from the stock of Jesse has already come! He is in our midst. But not all see him. Indeed, in the gospel, Jesus rejoices with his Father for allowing his disciples, mere children, to recognize his true identity as only beloved Son of the Father, and so to be drawn into the justice and peace of his kingdom.

And in Jesus’ joyful outburst we learn an important thing: no one knows who the Son is except the Father, and who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Recognition is nothing less than a gift from God. But it is a gift that’s freely given to all who are open enough to receive.

There’s something more, something we can we learn from the gospel about the nature of this openness. Today’s passage is found in a section in Luke’s gospel that has to do with mission. Jesus is joyful here because he had earlier sent out his disciples to spread the good news and they had returned to tell him all about the fruits of their mission. In their willingness to go where the Lord had sent them, the disciples experienced something of what Isaiah describes in the first reading. And they were filled with joy.

What joy does the Lord have in store for us – where and to whom is he sending us – today?

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