December 1st, 2003
Howie Kalb, S.J.
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122:1-2, 3-4, 8-9 or 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Yesterday we began the new Liturgical year.
Today’s prophecy from Isaiah helps set the tone for this Season!
The hope he envisions for the House of Israel he predicts for “all nations.”
All nations shall stream toward the Lord’s holy mountain: “That he may instruct
us in his ways and we may walk in his paths.” No longer will people
prepare for war. “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears
into pruning hooks.”
In Matthew’s Gospel, the Good News tells us that even a Roman centurion
devoid of any formal faith finds in Jesus a person of authority far mightier
than his own. There was no need of Jesus to come to his house to heal
his serving boy. “Just give an order and my boy will get better.”
With even the pagan occupiers finding faith in Jesus, he must have experienced
Isaiah’s vision coming to fruition. “I assure you, I have never found
this much faith in Israel.” And to affirm and encourage that faith he
healed the boy from the distance.
But even as his kingdom kept spreading, more and more the opposition built
up against him. Mostly it was fanned into flame by the religious leaders
of his day. Such hostility became so pronounced that he finally
exclaimed: “When the Son of Man comes will he find any faith in the
world?” Within just a couple of years of Christ’s public life from overwhelming
acceptance of the faith there came the lament whether any would exist at
the end of time.
What always puzzles me is how the more evidence comes to light the more
prejudiced fight against its truth. One obvious example is in the “Right
to Life” controversy. While modern technology can image the fetus in
the womb clearly showing the baby at an early stage actually smiling in joy
and reacting to pain, so much of our country cannot accept that the child
has a right to live. Our Supreme Court agrees and it is the law of
the land. Our faith tells us that human life begins at conception.
Our nation was founded on the right that we have “to life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness.” In how many other areas might the Son of Man
find no faith when he comes?
to the writer of this reflection.
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