Today’s Advent Reading:
USCCB – November 29th

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

November 9th, the day after the election, was a wake-up call for many Americans, especially those on our predominately liberal campus. I’ve spoken to countless friends who have expressed that they were shocked that a man of Trump’s decidedly unusual character could be elected to the highest office in America. Even more of my friends are afraid that his time in office will have very real and dire consequences for themselves or their close family and friends. It pains me deeply to see those whom I care about experiencing so much fear and sorrow.

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

But we must remember that this is nothing new. Ever since humans took the stage, the world has always been wracked with strife. Recorded history contains no shortage of senseless wars, genocides, and unspeakable cruelties, and from the death of Abel to the Syrian crisis, humanity has never once taken a hiatus from the physical, emotional, and spiritual violence we selfishly perpetrate. I do not mean to insinuate that these events are so commonplace that we should become numb to the sorrow, and cease to respond with mourning or righteous indignation; I mean exactly the opposite. It is only rational to despair, and those of us who despair now have had good reason to despair since the day we were born. What we ought to be skeptical of is not the sorrow of today, but the sentiment that there will ever be a day in which we do not need to mourn.

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

Today’s reading comes from Isaiah 11, and it speaks of a day on which the Lord “shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted.” It declares that there will be a time when “the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb” and “the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.” This all sounds great, but maybe a little tone-deaf in the midst of what’s going on right now? I mean, how can anyone actually believe this stuff when it’s clear that our world is so torn? It is as if whoever compiled this selection (and whoever wrote the passages, for that matter) was completely unaware of the realities of our world. Look around. There is no justice; there is no peace.

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.

Christ says in the gospel reading for today that God has “hidden these things from the wise and the learned,” but “revealed them to the childlike.” I have to admit, optimism feels very childlike right now. Everything I have learned, all the wisdom that I have gained about humanity, tells me that there will be no justice, and there will be no peace. We each care too much about ourselves and our families, and too little about those we do not know. There is nothing new under the sun, and all of our labor towards reconciliation is a vanity, a striving after the wind. Wisdom has taught me to abandon my hope.

And yet.

Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace forever.


Obasi Shaw ’17 is a senior in Pforzheimer House and Managing Editor of the Ichthus.

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