Isaiah 11: 1-10
A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him,
the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and might,
the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide by what his ears hear;
but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist,
and faithfulness the belt around his loins.
The wolf shall live with the lamb,
the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together,
and a little child shall lead them.
The cow and the bear shall graze,
their young shall lie down together;
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp,
and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den.
They will not hurt or destroy
on all my holy mountain;
for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
On that day the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples; the nations shall inquire of him, and his dwelling shall be glorious.
Psalm 72: 1-2, 7-8, 12-13, 17
Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
In his days may righteousness flourish
and peace abound, until the moon is no more.
May he have dominion from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
For he delivers the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
May his name endure forever,
his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;
may they pronounce him happy.
Luke 10: 21-24
At that same hour Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the intelligent and have revealed them to infants; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
Then turning to the disciples, Jesus said to them privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see! For I tell you that 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.”
During this season of Advent, we have the opportunity to reflect on Jesus’ coming into this world. Having been born during this time in history, it can be easy to take Christianity and Jesus’ presence for granted, or to forget how the Lord’s people experienced centuries of longing for the Savior. The first reading from Isaiah foretells an unreal-sounding future, where the Savior has brought an end to all violence and injustice. Nature is at peace, young children have no fear of harm even playing side-by-side with deadly animals; He has come to restore everything that was broken.
Looking at this first reading on this side of history, we might think that Isaiah’s prophecy was unrealistic. After all, Jesus did come into the world, but not everyone recognized Him. He did not transform the world in one sweeping event, but entered as a baby, born into poverty. He was put to death, and even after His resurrection and the beginning of the Church, we still see a great deal of sin and struggle both in our own lives and throughout the world. But, because of Jesus, we have hope. We have His presence among us -- in His Word, in the Eucharist, in our prayers. We have the promise of eternity with Him beyond this fallen world. And we have His promise to return again, putting a final end to death. If we are truly convinced of these realities, we have nothing to fear, and we can find comfort knowing that the pain and grief we experience in this life is temporary and can even lead to good if we allow the Lord to enter into it all.
During this Advent season, make space in your heart for the Savior and look to Him with hope. Place your struggles and brokenness before Him and approach Him as a little child -- small, vulnerable, but open. Trust that He desires to reveal Himself more fully to you as you are little before Him, and that His perfect will is to bring you to a place of greater peace, healing, and joy.