November 29, 2015 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
November 29, 2015
Jeremiah 33: 14-16
Fr .George Smiga
With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, our society and our lives begin to focus on Christmas. The air is full of Christmas themes: family, peace, shopping, joy, and a general admonition to be jolly and merry. But today’s first reading from the prophet Jeremiah introduces another theme, one that we do not normally associate with Christmas but one that lies at its heart—the theme of justice. Jeremiah says, that a day will come when a “just shoot will be raised up”, someone who will establish what is just and right in the land. As Christians we see Jesus as the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s promise. Therefore we can ascribe to Jesus the title that Jeremiah uses, “The Lord, our Justice.” This title is not normally associated with Christmas. The usual title for this season is “the Prince of Peace.” But the two titles work together. Justice and peace are partners. In the famous words of Pope Paul the sixth, “If you want peace, work for justice.”
So the peace of Christmas is much deeper than the peace between the mother and child at the manger. The peace of Christmas flows from justice. Jesus who was born at Bethlehem is the Lord our Justice, so that he can be the Prince of Peace. His mission is to establish God’s justice, what is right in our world. When his just reign is accomplished, our world will be free from hatred, violence, and war. Justice then is a Christmas theme. Jesus’ mission is to make the world a better place, a more just place. If that is his mission, then it should be ours as well. So allow me to suggest two things for you to include on your holiday list, two actions by which you can promote justice in our world.
The first is this: Prepare to vote. There can be no justice in our world without good leadership, and no leader is more influential than the president of our country. We will choose that man or woman. So listen to what the people who want your vote are saying. Ask yourself which of these candidates are truly committed to justice in our world and in our country. Voting is more than choosing the candidate who will make our lives better individually, or who will serve those who look or think like us. Voting is choosing the candidate who will bring about what is right and just for everyone. Only if there is justice, will there be peace on our streets and in our world.
The second item for your holiday list is affirmation. Affirm the people around you who are doing what is right, who are acting with justice. Who are the people in your family, at your workplace, in your relationships that are making a difference? Notice them, affirm them, and if possible join them. Doing what is right, working for justice is not easy. Others need our support. So affirm those who are working for justice, for they are the true peacemakers.
There are many ways to prepare for Christmas, but since justice is a Christmas theme, we should promote it during the next month. Listen for attitudes of justice in the words of those who seek your vote. Affirm the people around you who are making a difference. Serve the Lord, our Justice, so that he may be our Prince of Peace.