Homilette for Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

(Isaiah 11: 1-10, Luke 10:21-24)

The prison minister related the kind of story she hears over and over again. A small black man, who apparently just arrived in the city, was wrongly accused of purse-snatching. That the fellow was hardly aware of what was happening was so obvious that the arraigning judge released him on reconnaissance. The poor man was still left homeless and just about penniless.

Even if one believes that the legal system is both fair and functional, he or she should still realize that such misfortunes as what befell the black man in the story happen with some regularity. Especially those without money to pay professional fees are vulnerable to miscarriages of justice. There are also abuses at the other end of the spectrum. The rich sometimes “get away with murder” because they can afford clever attorneys who manipulate the system.

In the first reading today the prophet Isaiah announces that all injustices are coming to an end. A Messiah, he says, will be born to establish righteousness throughout the land. He will hear the cases of the poor along with the rich. He will prosecute villains and allow the innocent to walk with heads high. As a result, there will be a truly peaceful society with the equivalent of Asians and Africans, capitalists and communists, surgeons and street sweepers all taking care of one another. The message of Advent is that this vision has been realized in Jesus of Nazareth and will be universalized shortly when he returns in glory.