NOTE: Throughout the Advent season, we’ll post a reflection on the readings for the upcoming Sunday in Advent just a few days before so individuals and groups can reflect in anticipation or incorporate it into their meetings, homilies, etc. The reflection will be available on our homepage through the weekend and then archived on our Advent 2022 webpage.
The reflection below is from our Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Fr. Ray East and was included in the 2013 Advent reflection booklet, Unshakeable Belief: Advent 2013.
by Msgr. Ray East
Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace
“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid,
the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” (Is 11:6)
“The Peaceable Kingdom” is the title of over sixty versions of Isaiah’s vision painted by the Quaker minister Edward Hicks. He depicts a child in an Eden-like garden, surrounded by wild beasts. There is a back-story, however. The lions and leopards, bears and wolves and cobra mentioned in Isaiah’s menagerie also represented bitter factions in the Quaker schism of 1828. The preacher-painter Hicks copied the painting five dozen times over two decades as he worked for reconciliation among his divided, pacifist Friends.
Here in Washington, D.C., we Pax Christi USA members are surrounded by strange bedfellows. Those contractors who profit from war and their powerful lobbyists who sit in the same pew as those in non-profit organizations who work for peace. We share neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. Can we ever imagine legislative hawks on Capitol Hill nesting with congressional doves? Can people of faith who are sworn ideological enemies build the same beloved community? This second week of Advent dares us to dream such dreams; even St. Paul’s image of a Christ amid the Gentiles in today’s second reading invites us to paint a picture of a Messiah who reconciles religious foes.
Stand on Jordan’s banks today and let the wild man John the Baptist straighten your paths. Allow the one who comes to baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. Dare to replace fear with Christ-peace.
How will we practice profound peace this week?
Will we dare to reconcile enemies in our River Jordan?
>> For more Advent resources and reflections, click here.