December 2, 2019
The charism of the Congregation of the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ is the charism of HOPE. What an incredible gift to the Church and the world in a time when many can be so easily discouraged and led to despair of their fellow human beings.
Our first reading, from the prophet Isaiah, holds out for us a future shaped by hope. On the Day of the Lord, justice will reign and all will live in peace and harmony with each other: “There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.” The One who will bring about this reign of God will be anointed with God’s Spirit: “The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD, and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.”
St. Paul, in our second reading, indicates that the Scriptures—here he means the Old Testament—contains much that can provide us with hope for the future. Think, for instance, of how God was able to free Israel from the captivity in Egypt or how God was able to bring Israel back from its exile in Babylon. Or, in the case of individuals, how God saved Noah from the flood, Moses from hands of Pharaoh, David from Goliath, Daniel from the den of lions, and Susanna from her false accusers. In all these situations, Israel, or certain people of Israel, were in dire need, and God was there to save them. In this light, Paul is asking his community in Rome to live in harmony with one another, trusting that good will come from welcoming one another—even those different from themselves—just as Christ has welcomed them.
In the gospel, John the Baptist announces that the Day of the Lord—that long-awaited day—has arrived in the One who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He points to Jesus as the One on whom God’s Spirit has rested, the One who has come to inaugurate God’s reign of peace and justice.
This reign of God is both present and not yet fully realized. It has begun through Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection. It is made present in the world in his body, the Church, and through its members who have been baptized with the Holy Spirit and with fire. While we wait in hope for its final realization, we live to love and to serve others as signs of Jesus’ continued presence among us. Through this our hope, we can offer hope to others.