Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM
Scripture: Lectionary # 190. Isaiah 45:6-8.18.21-25. Psalm
85:9-10.11-12.13-14. Luke 7:18:23:
“Kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss.” This verse
comes from the Psalmist who gives us these words while we ponder it in the
light of the Psalm Response. Often we learn we can pray the other two
readings with the help of the responsorial psalm. In the words kindness,
truth, justice, and peace we have the biblical virtues that are so
important for us whether we be Christian or Jew. They make the season of
Christmas and Hanukkah alive with human response and personal relationships
with others more meaningful. They help us grow in the graces God gives us
each day; but we must put them into practice.
Our reading joins the first two in the symbol of a kiss–one of the most
intimate and tender of signs with in a relationship. The virtues are thus
bound together through the psalmists “personification” of them. This is
more than just a stroke of literary genius; it is divine revelation coming
from someone inspired by the God of love, the God of the Israelites and the
God of Jesus. The Psalms are the most frequently cited verses of the Old
Testament in the New and we can be sure that Jesus knew them all and prayed
them often. God’s words come to us in our limited human language but
sometimes they jump out and enter our hearts because they are so real. Far
from being prosaic, this psalm and the other readings are poetic and
powerful for us.
In the Gospel we return to two real historical figures of monumental
importance in religion: John the Baptist and Jesus. Both are central to
what is being said in Luke’s narrative. John is searching and discerning
for he is an authentic prophet who knows what truth is and practices
justice very vigorously. He sends his disciples to ask Jesus whether he is
the anointed one of God, the messiah that John is to announce. Jesus
speaks openly and truthfully by telling them what he is doing. His works
are those already predicted in Isaiah for the deliverer of Israel. There
have been some already but he is the one who delivers from death, sin, and
Evil personified in Satan or the Devil. Jesus, the Word, is the fulness of
truth. John’s disiciples have enough evidence about the “Lord” when they
return to their master John. He, in turn, will eventually let his disciples
follow Jesus rather than himself.
Both Jesus and John therefore are bringing about the reality of what the
Psalm says. Kindness and truth have met each other and have kissed in order
to seal their commitment to one another. Peace and justice do the same.
Shouldn’t we? Amen.