Second Week of Advent

Can it be true? Can the wolf live with the lamb, and the calf and the lion cub feed together? Can the cow and the bear make friends and the infant play over the cobra’s hole? Surely not. Our personal experience of the world, and our world-weariness in the face of the news and events that surround us, lead us to think that this can never happen.

But Isaiah, in the first reading of this Sunday’s Mass (Isaiah 11:1-10), presents us with a picture of the unity of all creation, for “on him the Spirit of the Lord rests”. This Spirit of “wisdom and insight, of counsel and power, of knowledge and fear of the Lord” are gifts of the Holy Spirit, equipping us with an inner awareness of God’s life in the relationship of the Holy Trinity.

We can be so overwhelmed by the material realities of our world that we fail to be aware of the spirit of God that gives life to the material realities that surround us. But God will not “judge us by appearances, he gives no judgment by hearsay. He judges with integrity and with equity.” The consequence of living in the Spirit of God is that unity that Christ prayed for, where the whole of creation comes to life when the spirit and the flesh become one.

The temptation to turn the beauty of God’s creation into an idol to be worshipped, from the Golden Calf to the latest new gadget or “must-have” item, is powerful and destructive. “For all men were by nature foolish who were in ignorance of God, and who from the good things seen did not succeed in knowing Him who is, and from studying the works did not discern the Creator. Now if out of joy in their beauty they thought them gods, let them know how far more excellent is the Lord is than these; for the original source of beauty created them” (Wisdom 13:1-4).

We experience a profound emptiness in all material things if we do not see their true beauty and meaning through the eyes of God, who created them. This is the unity Christ prayed for, that we might, like Him, see all things reflecting the beauty of God, rather than our own limited vision.

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