“Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a Savior” – Isaiah 45:8
This verse from Isaiah recurs several times in the liturgies of these last weeks of Advent. Composed during a desperate period in Jewish history when “Sion is deserted, Jerusalem desolate” (Isaiah 64:10). It is a powerful cry for a Savior, the Just One who will inaugurate a reign of truth and justice, “tzedek” or righteousness. It expresses the most confident hope that God will do what He has promised.
Every year as I reflect on the antiphons in the Liturgy of the Hours and the reading from the Prophets, I feel encouraged and renewed. Justice and mercy, righteousness, and peace: this is the vocabulary of the Prophets and of the Beatitudes of the Kingdom which Jesus, the Messiah has inaugurated. For 20 years I worked as a Prison Chaplain, first as a volunteer and later full-time. Every Christmas was a time of mixed emotions for the men and boys in Manchester or London. Our privilege as Chaplains was to share with them the Good News, “today a Savior is born for you.” There is no evil in this world which is more powerful than the grace and the righteousness of God, despite all appearances to the contrary. I continue to pray for prisoners, justly or unjustly condemned by the justice of men and ask that reconciliation may overcome our society’s insistence on punishment and vengeance.
Let our lives be living witness to the justice which You desire for all men and women. On our broken world pour out Your spirit of righteousness and peace and bring forth the rich fruits of the earth for all.
Brother Philip Revell, C.F.X.
To view the full Advent 2022 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.