In the first reading Isaiah foretells that the Messiah will introduce what humans have always called the “golden age.” The anointed of the Lord will be blest with the gifts of the Lord’s Spirit, and these will enable him to bring peace and justice to the world. Isaiah uses images from the animal kingdom to describe the new, universal peace that the Messiah will bestow on the world. Animals, he says, that are natural enemies will live at peace with one another. A defenseless child will play unharmed in a den of snakes.

In the Gospel Jesus thanks his Father because this revelation, this glorious dream of the prophet has been fulfilled in himself, in Jesus.

But has it been fulfilled? We look at the world, we look at our nation: hatred, murder, mania for power, oppression, injustice, genocide, terrorism. Can anyone possibly believe that a new age, a golden age has found fulfillment in Jesus?

Jesus lived by values that, in spite of the pain and injustice imposed on him, created within him abiding peace, spiritual tranquility. In spite of the agony that gashed his body and the turmoil that rent his soul-”My God, my God, why have you abandoned me”-when he looked into the darkness and the emptiness of death, his spirit rested securely, at peace in the Lord-”Father, I commend my spirit into your care.”

The values by which Jesus lived and died formed within him an interior peace that even the ultimate violence and the most painful rejection was incapable of disturbing.

Let us pray to God for this inner peace, and for the source from which it flows. Let us pray for absolute trust in God’s love and dedication to his will, that we might find Jesus’ peace within us, and find also the Advent promise reaching for fulfillment, peace in our world.