Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Of Lions and Lambs

"Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them." Is 11:6

Is there any more hopeful passage in the Scripture than the 11th chapter of the Prophet Isaiah? Because there are days for all of us when nothing seems to work, not our personal lives, not our church lives, not our lives as Americans or our life in the world, it can seem impossible not to despair about the state of our souls and the state of the world. We have become defensive and greedy in our personal lives and in our country, and while our Congress quibbles over the best path for renewal, almost 1 billion people are hungry, most of them children.

That is when Isaiah is so helpful.  That wolves are guests of lambs and leopards lie down with kids makes us think that God not only can do anything, he will, if only we find a way to work together for the good of all. Remember that at the time of Isaiah the Northern Kingdom had already been captured and the Assyrian army was massed outside the walls of Jerusalem. The Jewish people were being threatened with slavery and exile, yet Isaiah, speaking for God, promises divine redemption despite the faults of God's people.

One of the things that impresses me about the parish of St Pius X, where I am presently living, is the number of young people who are involved in helping build the parish and contribute to the larger community.  In preparation for a recent harvest event, it was teenagers who did all the preparation and all the work. They baked, they arranged tables, they helped paint the littlest children's faces and cleaned up afterwards. Just as important, the priest friar who directs the teens stayed out of the way and let them lead. While it is clear that we have a long way to go as a church and nation, when we focus on the good all around us, hope blossoms, our attitudes change and the world seems more manageable,. We have only to turn to God again to begin our return from exile.

Today, look for a sign of hope in your family or community and celebrate it.

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