14 December 2005

The Garden of Salvation

"Let the heavens rain down justice and let salvation bud forth from the earth."
Isaiah 45

Today's first reading, although leading us ever closer to the mystery of the Incarnation, hints at the great gift of our salvation. Isaiah speaks of justice from heaven which rains down upon the earth. Jesus is the Just One, who comes down from heaven, the Word of God who waters the earth. No other human -- just and righteous though he may be -- could have won salvation for us. For only because of his divinity did the sacrifice of Jesus reconcile us to the Father who is divine. And only on account of his humanity does this salvation extend to us mortal creatures.

Isaiah's words allow us to consider this great mystery. We cannot "rain down justice" ourselves and we cannot bring about our own salvation. We can, however, be good stewards of that precious garden where justice abounds and the Flower of Jesse's stem blooms anew each year during this sacred season of Advent. We can be good stewards by our own acts of justice. Few of us are in positions where we influence a great many people, but in our everyday relationships with friends, co-workers, family, etc., we can be people who are just. We can tend carefully the garden of our hearts by thinking kind thoughts, speaking well of others, encouraging the weak of heart and cheering those who are sad. In these simple ways we can become people of justice, after the Lord's own heart.

"A single one of His tears would have been enough to satisfy Divine Justice . . . rather, he willed to suffer a thousand pains and labors, paying in full rigor of justice for our faults." St. Francis de Sales

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