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1st Week of Advent
Hear the word of the Lord, O nations;
declare it to the distant lands:
Behold, our Savior will come; you need no longer fear. Cf. Jer 3:10; Is 35:4
Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,
as we await the advent of Christ your Son,
so that, when he comes and knocks,
Daily Meditation: Isaiah 2:1-5
They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. (Isaiah 2:4)
The prophet Isaiah envisions a future when the havoc wrought by wars and violence will be stilled. At that time, God will usher in his reign of peace across the world. This peace, or shalom, is meant as a state of wholeness, tranquility, and delight, and the word appears nearly thirty times in Isaiah’s prophecies.
We know that the era of peace Isaiah described will be fulfilled completely at the Second Coming, when Jesus returns in glory to establish a new heaven and a new earth. But we also know that this age of peace actually began on that first Christmas, when Jesus came to us as a child. He came to bring peace to our hearts through the forgiveness of our sins. He came to teach us to show each other mercy, not hatred. He came to show us how to live with each other in humility and unity. Jesus knew that if we wanted to see peace in the world, it had to start with each of us finding peace in our own heart.
Can you imagine a world at peace? A time when all family relationships will be reconciled? A time when people no longer hurt each other? A time when everyone will know and share the love of God? At that time, even nations will put aside the practice of war for good.
When he returns to fully establish his kingdom, Jesus will not only end all wars. He will heal all of the wounds of war. Soldiers and civilians alike, everyone who has suffered from violence of any kind, will be mended by his healing love. In fact, we see a sign of that healing love in today’s Gospel. There, a Roman centurion, a seasoned warrior, encounters Jesus. With just a few words, Jesus cures his servant’s suffering—an act that the centurion could never accomplish with his sword.
So as we long for the day when Isaiah’s prophecy comes to pass fully, let’s pray for peace. Let’s pray for every person touched by hatred or division or war, that they will know the healing love of Jesus. And this Advent, let’s embrace Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in our hearts.
“Lord, bring the peace of your kingdom to every corner of the earth!”