The Perspective of Justice
Hope and Joy
What an overwhelming message is carried in today’s liturgy: “Rejoice in the Lord always! May we experience the joy of salvation! Shout for joy! Sing joyfully! Cry out with joy and gladness!”
There is a profound sense of hope for a better world to come, a world in which, the prophet says, “you have no further misfortune to fear and the apostle tells us to dismiss all anxiety from your minds.”
The reason for this joy and hope is clear: “The Lord himself is near” (Second Reading); “there is one to come who is mightier than I” (Gospel).
It is within this context of joyous and hopeful expectation of the coming of Christ that we must understand the exhortations of John to the people. Our work for a better world is preparation for the coming of Christ. It is also a sign that the coming of Christ is near.
“The Spirit of the Lord sent me to bring Good News to the poor.” That is the message which we are to shout with joy: Jesus is coming with Good News for all those who are suffering because of injustice and peacelessness.
The Christian’s hope comes primarily from the fact that he knows that the Lord is working with us in the world, continuing in his Body which is the Church—and, through the Church, in the whole of mankind—the Redemption which was accomplished on the Cross and which burst forth in victory on the morning of the Resurrection. This hope springs also from the fact that the Christian knows that other men are at work, to undertake actions of justice and peace working for the same ends.
Pope Paul VI, Octogesimo Adveniens, 1971: 48
**From Saint Louis University