Shining Out Like the Dawn – Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
There is a beautiful verse in the scripture from Isaiah in today’s Mass. “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.” In the chapter before that verse is the piece famously quoted by Jesus in Luke’s Gospel, at the initiation of his public ministry.
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners.”
The speaker (the prophet or God) will not keep silent or rest until vindication is experienced, until all is justified and made well. Presumably that means that there is no oppression, no broken hearts, and no one captive or a prisoner. That assurance and the words that are used by Jesus are a helpful way for us to bring together the two foci that are offered along with the regular Sunday Mass itself: migrants and refugees, and the pursuit of justice.
Furthermore, the words from Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians are a reminder that vindication is not the sole responsibility of God. We all have gifts that can be put to use to bring about the mission that Jesus announced after emerging from the wilderness. Paul writes of a variety of gifts, services, and activities, “but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone.”
This is World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This is also the Sunday in the midst of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Here is a statement from the organizing body for the Week of Prayer:
“The theme for the 2019 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes to us from Indonesia: “Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue” (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). The 2019 theme calls us to move from shared prayer to shared action.
Drawing on the traditional values of Bhineka Tunggal Ika (Unity in Diversity) and gotong royong (living in solidarity and by collaboration), Indonesian Christians invite us to be a united witness, and an ag”Injustice and justice both have faces. Those faces surround us every time that we connect to the world around us “ent of Christ’s healing grace in a broken world, by making specific commitments to justice, equality, and unity.”
Injustice and justice both have faces. Those faces surround us every time that we connect to the world around us – in newspapers, on television, on the internet, on social media, in our Facebook posts, in a family gathering, going to work or school, chatting with friends and colleagues about world events, the choices we make about films to watch or books to read, and so on. We need to have open and sensitive eyes. We need to have hearts that can discern what particular gifts we have that can be put to use to facilitate the vindication.