Readings: Isaiah 26:1-6; Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Isaiah’s triumphant vision portrays a God who turns upside down what most societies value, and a God with a predilection for the poor and powerless. If many of the themes at the beginning of Advent give us pause, this prophecy should really have us worried. These are not the values contemporary Americans cherish.
Things get no better when we hear the Gospel: Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord, ” will enter the Kingdom of heaven.
We’ve already seen the Roman Catholic Church humiliated from its abuse of power and lack of accountability. What of any church that calls itself Christian, while exalting prosperity, ignoring the poor through exclusive social and economic systems, protecting male prerogatives, depleting natural resources or denying basic rights according to racial bias–among other expressions of complacency and self-interest?
It is not unreasonable to be fearful about our future. In fact, it’s irreligious to trust ourselves rather than be questioned by what God asks of us. What God commands is not arbitrary but a call to our greatest good, for the fulfillment of God’s creation. It is to our ruin to settle for less.