December 16, 2015
Today’s readings: Isaiah 45:6-25; Psalm 85:9-14; Luke 7:18-23
As we look to the coming of our Savior into the world, this world that is in darkness and great confusion still continues to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” (Lk 7:19). Even Christians in effect may be looking to another–a human savior who would overturn the ills of the world, or a secular system by which all can experience peace and happiness. All would like to see overturned what is wrong with the world.
But Jesus has already done that. By Jesus’ ministry we have already “seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the dear hear, the dead are raised” (Lk 7:22a). The world however wants to overturn the ills according their their own wisdom, and to do so without Jesus! In fact the world, especially in the West, has turned against Jesus. They are offended by him. They want any vestige of him erased. They prohibit prayer and Christian symbols and they replace the greeting “Merry Christmas” to “Happy Holidays.” They are doing exactly what will keep the world immersed in ills, for as Jesus has said, “blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” (Lk 7:23). Conversely, the one who does take offense at him cannot be blessed.
Take the case of massive poverty, one of the greatest ills in the world. The world wants to overturn the situation of the poor through economic endeavors that seek to make them materially better off. So they want such things as great economic projects that benefit the rich, claiming that the benefits would trickle down to the poor. Well, it does not. It remains at the top, with the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. Such is grave injustice. The pronouncements of powerful nations are not good news for the poor. It cannot be good news unless Jesus is right at the center of it. “I, the Lord, promise justice, I declare what is right.” (Is 45:19c). What the poor need is to “have the good news proclaimed to them.” (Lk 7:22b). Then, looking to Jesus, they can start off on the right track to authentic liberation.
The poor need justice, the world hungers for peace. But there can be no peace without justice. And justice is not forthcoming from a fallen world. Only Jesus can bring justice on the earth. In Jesus “justice and peace will kiss.” (Ps 85:11b).
The fallen world needs to be evangelized, both poor and rich alike. Those blinded by greed, selfishness and pride need to have their sight restored. Only Jesus can do that, he who “granted sight to many who were blind.” (Lk 7:21b). The fallen world needs to meet Christ, to know Christ, and to accept Christ. Only Jesus can turn their lives around. Only Jesus can cure “many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits” (Lk 7:21a). If that is the case, what should be the world’s posture? “I will listen for what God, the Lord, has to say; surely he will speak of peace to his people and to his faithful.” (Ps 85:9a). To that we must add a prayer, since the world has proven blind, disobedient and rebellious: “May they not turn to foolishness!” (Ps 85:9b).
Those of us who are authentic Christians need to tell the world of such a Savior, the only Savior. We must share Christ, bringing the gospel to the ends of the earth. “Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth” (Is 45:22a). Only Jesus can turn things around for the world, as he had already done before. “Only in the Lord are just deeds and power.” (Is 45:24a).
Let us proclaim Christ and the gospel of salvation in him. Let us work “so that all may know, from the rising of the sun to its setting, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, there is no other.” (Is 45:6). Jesus is Savior and Lord. Let the whole world know and acclaim him. “To me every knee shall bend; by me every tongue shall swear” (Is 45:23b).
Then will the world truly experience salvation, with the attendant peace, justice and happiness that all seek. “Near indeed is his salvation for those who fear him; glory will dwell in our land.” (Ps 85:10).
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God bless you all.
“For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.” (Phil 1:21)
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