(December 3 is the Feast of St. Francis Xavier, who is the patron of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. Fr. Alphonse Spilly, C.PP.S., offers this reflection on today’s readings.)
By Fr. Alphonse Spilly, C.PP.S.
We live in a time of great crisis. The chaos, polarization and significant changes in our world have significant impact on all of us.
The first reading brings comfort and reassurance about an ideal kingdom in and through which God will set things right again. When Isaiah first spoke these words, the people of Jerusalem and Judah were very afraid of the Assyrian empire and its aggressive policies of domination of peoples. God sends the prophet to describe a future world that resembles a return to the Garden of Eden—calves and young lions playing together, for example. God will send a Savior who will rule wisely and ensure justice for all—a ruler who will respect the innate human rights and dignity of everyone, including the poor, the widow, the orphan, the stranger. The Spirit of God will rest upon this Messiah, this Son of David. He will be empowered to establish the kingdom of God despite the forces of evil at work in the world.
The characteristics of that kingdom are justice and peace, mercy and compassion, love of God and neighbor, reconciliation, harmony, unity. Jesus reminds us that the Kingdom of God—while it is clearly not yet fully present—is already here among us. Our challenge is to look for signs of the kingdom in our midst.
Jesus praises his heavenly Father for revealing the good news of God’s realm to all the world. As missionary disciples of the risen Lord, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live our lives in accord with the Gospel, proclaiming God’s enduring, unconditional love to all whom we encounter not only by our words but also by our actions. We are to imitate the great missionary, St. Francis Xavier!
Fr. Al Spilly, C.PP.S., lives at St. Charles Center in Carthagena, Ohio. He has taught Scripture at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and has given many Bible-based retreats and talks.