Advent: The Reign of Justice

December 1, 2013

Dear People of Prince Edward Island,

In Advent, we are preparing for God’s Reign of Justice. We are anticipating Christmas by looking forward to the birth of a new era of social justice, love and peace. ‘Christ’, which means ‘the Anointed One’ of God, took flesh for the purpose of redeeming humanity from strife, injustice and hate. Advent is the Holy Season when we listen to the Prophets of the Bible who proclaim God’s promise that justice is soon to break into human history.

“The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will fulfill the promise I made… In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David; and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. .. And this is the name which it will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:14-16). The fruit of Mary’s womb is the Incarnation of God’s justice, peace and love for all people.

So, how do we prepare for God’s Reign of Justice? Are we expecting God’s Reign of Justice to affect our outlook and our way of life? Or do we think we can accept the baby Jesus without accepting his mission on earth? These Advent questions beckon us to understand that Christmas is more than a holiday. Christmas challenges us to enter the sacred mystery of justice, peace and joy for all people but in particular for the poor. This Celtic prayer expresses how we might best welcome God’s Reign of Justice into our daily lives.

You are the caller, you are the poor, you are the stranger at my door.
You are the wanderer, the unfed, you are the homeless with no bed.
You are the man driven insane, you are the child crying in pain.
You are the other who comes to me.
If I open to another you’re born in me.
David Adam, The Edge of Glory – Prayers in the Celtic Tradition (HarrisburgPA.1985), 34.

The final line of this prayer underlines the mystery that transforms us from within. Such a personal transformation has the potential to change our social structures into a fabric of justice and peace. The Christ child, God with us, Emmanuel was born poor, surrounded by poor shepherds and lowly farm animals. So the one place on earth to encounter the Christ child is where He has chosen to be, with those who are the poorest, with those who suffer injustice.

Advent readies us for Christmas by moving us towards an encounter with God’s Reign of Justice in the person of Jesus the Christ. I take this opportunity to extend to all Islanders my wishes for a joyful and peaceful Christmas. May each of us treat all people with fairness, extend hands of empathy for those who suffer injustice, use our talents to aid the poor and direct our collective energy to building a more just world.

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