Our first reading, from Chapter Eleven of the Book of the Prophet Isaiah is one of the most beautiful chapters in the Scriptures. In it, Isaiah, from seven centuries in advance, saw Jesus as a flower springing from the roots of Jesse.
Jesse, as the father of David was the first of that royal line, a line that over seven centuries would be reduced to nothing but a stump. But, then, the marriage of Mary and Joseph proved to be a fresh shoot from which Jesus would flower.
Isaiah, from that long ago, saw Jesus as bringing about a glorious age pictured as one in which the wolf would be the guest of the lamb, and the calf and the young lion would graze together.
It would be wonderful if the coming of Christ had brought about such harmony, but it has not; and the prophesy of Isaiah has amounted to nothing more than a lovely broken promise.
Jesus, as God’s unique Son, had the ability to transform humanity into the idyllic reality promised through the Prophet. So, why hasn’t he?
The glorious age promised by Isaiah has fallen flat on its face because Jesus was counting on us, his agents, to bring it about.
John the Baptist, by his self-sacrificing ways accepted the challenge, making the world noticeably better, and urging us to join him in the noble mission; but we have let our cheap ways bring discord rther than harmony.
When we were little, my sister Peg had a favorite book where the three sisters were named Faith, Hope, and Charity. When a fourth girl came along, they named her Peace, but her sisters slways said she should have been name Hell and Damnation.
Today’s reading tells us we can have heaven on earth if we give our all in practicing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. If we open ourselves to his influence; learning to practice, Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Forttude, Knowledge, and Fear of the Lord.