The Perspective of Justice
Rejoice in the Lord, Always!
It is a time for rejoicing: “The Lord is near! The earth rejoices in hope of the Savior’s coming and looks forward with longing to his return at the end of time.”
We again encounter John the Baptist echoing Isaiah’s oracle: “Make straight the way of the Lord!” This time it appears alongside Paul’s ringing exhortation: “Rejoice always, never cease praying, render constant thanks.”
It also appears—quite significantly—alongside two passages that speak of salvation for the lowly.
The First Reading has Isaiah tell of being sent “to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners.”
The Responsorial Psalm is Mary’s song from the first chapter of Luke: “The hungry he has given every good thing, while the rich he has sent empty away.”
The Alleluia follows this with a rewording of Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord ... sent me to bring Good News to the poor.”
The message of today’s liturgy is clear. The salvation we await with joy will liberate both the individual and the community, and its special focus will be the poor and lowly, not the rich and powerful.
“As the earth brings forth its plants ... so will the Lord God make justice.”
Jesus comes so that our community might no longer be scarred with poverty and oppression but might instead “be preserved whole and entire, spirit, soul, and body.”
As a leaven in the world, the Church is called to participate in human affairs and to recognize in the poor, the afflicted, and the oppressed the presence of the Lord summoning the Christian community to action.
U.S. Bishops, Resolution on the Pastoral Concern
of the Church for People on the Move, 1976: 5
Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at Amazon.com.
**From Saint Louis University