Scripture: Lectionary 176. Isaiah 2:1-5. Psalm 122:1-2.3-4.(4-5.6-7)8-9. Matthew 8:5-11:
“Peace be with you.” These words are central to our Advent season. Both Isaiah and our Psalmist are prompting us to pray for peace and to be peace-makers. We realize from today’s readings that God and Jesus are where peace for the world is. The Hebrew word Shalom is well known to most people. It means more than the absence of war or the abstract concept of peace. It contains the greeting to a fellow brother or sister; it means wholesomeness and is a way of saying goodbye to someone whom we want to meet again. This word appears both in Isaiah and in the Psalm for today.
Jesus uses the word peace during his active ministry and also after his resurrection. We hear in the Mass the greeting “Peace be with you.” Then at Communion the beautiful prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles my peace I give to you, my peace I leave with you…”
There is also a continuation of the theme of instruction from the Lord in Isaiah. It is one of the favorite verses of mine in the Hebrew Scriptures: “For from Zion will go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.” It makes me recall that Jesus spent most of his time teaching daily in the Temple area of Jerusalem. Zion or Jerusalem is the city of peace and is the mirror image of the heavenly Jerusalem descending from on high as we have learned from the teaching of the Book of Revelation.
In the Gospel we have the healing of the servant of the centurion whom Jesus praised as one who has such great faith that he had never seen before in his homeland. We have returned in our liturgy to the prayer of the centurion before he asks for the cure, “Lord I am not worthy
that thou should enter under my roof, say but the word and my servant shall be healed.”
May the Peace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.