Is 45:6c-8,18,21c-25; Ps 85:9ab,10-14; Lk 7:18b-23
In our “advent quiet” we can listen and hear what God proclaims; the LORD—for he proclaims peace to his people. This is a longed for word, this word of peace from the LORD. It is near indeed to those who fear him; it is glory dwelling in our land. It is the kindness of the LORD, and it is his truth for all who fear him. Kindness and truth are now one. Justice and peace are united. In any Catholic philosophy we recognize that truth is the conformity of the mind to reality. We receive the truth when we are humble enough to accept the data of our senses as real, not the fabrication of our minds. This is the truth that springs out of the earth; the truth arising from the humility of our humanity encountering the world in which it lives. Such an honest and humble person can depend upon the sheer gift of justice from the LORD of heaven and earth. When we are truly open and receptive to the truth then and only then will we be open to the LORD who gives us himself and all his benefits. Indeed, on that day will our land yield its increase. On that day justice shall walk with the LORD who walks with us and salvation will sprout from the way of his steps. The Prophet Isaiah proclaims the unalterable word of the LORD who is the vindication and the glory of all who live in the fear of the LORD, those who walk in the way of his salvation. This is such good news. This is so startling that from the beginning it is hard to believe. When the Lord Jesus is questioned by the disciples of the Baptist, he tells them to look to the evidence of their own senses, to behold how the prophesies are fulfilled before their eyes. He summons them to trust the evidence of their own senses, to conform their minds to the reality in which they live and move and have their being.
Our ancestors in faith did not distinguish between the active and the permissive will of God. They believed that the LORD was active and present in all that happened. Everything was the result of his will. Our blessing comes from the LORD and our suffering comes from the LORD. Such a belief is difficult for us to accept. In our western mind the principle of exclusion demands that we can never posit that anything evil comes from God who is Goodness itself. This God who is the LORD cannot create anything that is not good. This is the God who reveals himself from the beginning; he is the LORD and there is no other. So if God did not create the evil in our world, whence comes that which is not good? Revelation, the Bible and Oral Tradition, teaches us that evil enters into the world through our free will. We are deceived into thinking that to rebel against God is to be free. We buy into the lie that our freedom is found in being able to liberate ourselves from the LORD and his way of salvation. Sooner or later we discover that the only safe place in this world or in the next is in the LORD. At this moment of grace we turn to the LORD and we are safe. In our conversion we discover the true freedom of living in the Truth. For the LORD is God and there is no other. His decree and his unalterable word are worthy of all our trust. To the LORD every knee shall bend and every tongue shall swear: “Only in the LORD are just deeds and power.” Indeed, before the LORD shall come all who vent their anger against him. In the LORD shall be the vindication and the glory. As our Lord Jesus taught us to pray: “Hallowed be Thy Name.”
We are blessed indeed when we take no offense in the Lord who is to come. In the Lord Jesus do we find the fulfillment of all the prophesies from the beginning. The last and greatest of the prophets, Saint John the Baptist, sent his disciples to the Lord Jesus to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Indeed, this was an age of expectation and many so-called messiahs presented themselves before the people. The Baptist wanted to be sure that his longing for God to fulfill the word of his prophets did not blind him to the truth. So he humbly asked the Lord Jesus the same question that the authorities asked without humility. Who are you Jesus? This is the question our Advent Quiet invites us to ponder. Who is this long-expected one? The only way we can receive the truth of his identity is to be true to our own identity. We must humble ourselves to receive the truth of revelation, the truth that is beyond our power to manufacture. We must conform our minds to the data of our senses. We, too, must see, touch, taste, smell and hear the Word Made Flesh and dwelling among us. In the reality of our encounters with His Body, the Church and the Sacraments of the Church, we encounter his Crucified and Risen Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. In this moment truth arises from the earth and justice descends from the heavens. In our conversion, kindness and peace kiss us.