The word from today's eucharistic readings is "transformations." Tyrants who oppress their subjects "will be no more" and the arrogant who torment their neighbors "will have gone" (Is 29:20; see also Rv 18:2; Is 37:36-38). The deaf hear. The blind see. Lebanon, a nation known for its great forests, "shall be changed into an orchard" (Is 29:17). Lebanon's flag contains a cedar tree, and its legendary forests are referred to over seventy times in the Old Testament (e.g. Ps 92:13; 104:16; 2 Chr 2:7, 15). Over time, many of its legendary forests were cut down. Now, apples, peaches, oranges, and lemons, grown in orchards, are among Lebanon's major agricultural products. Such a change would have been difficult to imagine in Isaiah's time.
Although the above reversals involved physical situations, Isaiah's words also apply to spiritual transformations. For example, Saul of Tarsus, the persecutor of Christians became its greatest evangelist, St. Paul (1 Tm 1:13-14). Are there people or sins in your life you can't imagine ever changing? Do you think your children, siblings, parents, neighbors, will never come to faith? Do you feel the Goliath of the culture of death can never be transformed into a civilization of life and love by the "Davids" who faithfully pray, fast, teach, and witness?
We believe in the "good news" of Jesus Christ (see Mk 1:1). God has the power to change anything, for "nothing is impossible with God" (Lk 1:37). On the cross, Jesus made the greatest transformation of all. He turned death into new life. Believe in the God of transformations. Believe the Advent Scriptures.
|Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Imprimatur ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from December 1, 2016 through January 31, 2017.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 10, 2016.