THE SERVANT GENERAL
JOY AND PEACE IN CHRIST
Today’s readings from the Old Testament have our two
theme verses for last year and this year. For 2008 we had
Zephaniah 3:17. For 2009 we have Isaiah 12:2. God is consistent
in speaking to us, and today, as we are about to end this
year (we have already started the new liturgical year), God
continues to point us in the way we are to go.
are now in the season of Advent, when we celebrate the coming
of Jesus into the world. What characterizes this season is
joy and peace. It is a time of celebration,
and it is a time of renewing and maintaining right relationships
with our fellowmen. The angel announced the birth of Jesus
to the shepherds by saying: “I proclaim to you good
news of great joy” (Lk 2:10). The heavens
with all the angels responded, praising and giving glory to
God, saying that there would be “on earth peace to those
on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:14).
of the coming of Jesus, our lives are to be characterized
by joy and peace. Thus Paul told the Philippians: “Rejoice
in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!”
(Phil 4:4). As we turn to God, “then the peace
of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:7).
What is common to the first three readings is the element
of joy. “Shout for joy, O daughter Zion! sing joyfully,
O Israel!” (Zep 3:14a). “With joy you will draw
water at the fountain of salvation” (Is 12:3). Such
joy is simply the product of the coming of the savior. “The
Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior” (Zep
3:17a). “God indeed is my savior” (Is 12:2a).
about peace? Jesus is the prince of peace, and he came proclaiming
peace. But even though Jesus has already won for us our salvation,
there is still no peace. What we see in the world today is
conflict, injustice, oppression, and great affliction. Peace
is still something that needs to happen.
can there be peace on earth? The key is Jesus the savior.
has already done His part. Now the rest is up to us, those
whom He calls upon to proclaim this good news of salvation
in Jesus through the cross. Our task is this: “among
the nations make known his deeds, proclaim how exalted is
his name.” (Is 12:4b). Jesus has brought us salvation.
We are to “sing praise to the Lord for his glorious
achievement” (Is 12:5a), and we are to “let this
be known throughout all the earth.” (Is 12:5b). In other
words, we are to do the work of worldwide evangelization.
Evangelizers are those who prepare the way of the Lord. Such
a one was John the Baptist. John preached repentance for sin.
Then he pointed out the proper response of one who has repented,
and that is, to do justice to others -- sharing what we have
with others, not taking more than what is due to us, not robbing
others of their goods or their good name, being satisfied
with what God has provided (Lk 3:10-14).
people accept Jesus and call on his name, if they do justice
to their neighbor, then there will be peace on earth.
was an evangelizer who prepared the way for Jesus. John “preached
good news to the people.” (Lk 3:18). Such is our task
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