“WE LONG TO SEE THEE SO… O COME, O COME, O COME; WE HAVE NO KING BUT THEE”
The early twentieth-century song highlighted above by an unknown author is often found on the lips of Catholics during the Season of Advent; a song that connotes yearning for the arrival of the “King” whose coming seems prolonged; a song that encapsulates the sentiments and essence of the season of Advent. This is because Advent is a season of hope; the hope for the twofold coming of the “Just One” who would establish a utopic world. The hope for utopia can be said to be the desire of every human person. This utopia encircles around justice, compassion and peace. Put differently, without justice and compassion, there can be no peace in the world.
Unfortunately, our world at present is shrouded in injustices, indifference, inequality, discrimination, oppression and unfair practices among nations or within the society, even in our churches and homes, etc. Nigeria, for instance, is a country faced with cases of injustice, corruption, tribalism, discrimination, nepotism, inequality, etc., such that her citizens continually hope and await a time when justice and peace would flourish through good governance – the recent #EndSARS protest reveals a microcosm of the sentiments of the citizens who are tired and suffering from bad governance.
Likewise, Israel, too, hoped for a kingdom where justice and peace would flourish as clearly expressed by the Psalmist in today’s responsorial psalm. Being faced with the problem of injustices, inequality, disunity, oppression, etc., the Psalmist prayed: “O God, give your judgement to the king, to a king’s son your justice, that he may judge your people in justice and your poor in right judgement. In his days, justice shall flourish and peace till the moon fails. He shall rule from sea to sea, from the Great River to earth’s bounds. For he shall save the poor when they cry and the needy who are helpless. He will have pity on the weak and save the lives of the poor.” This short prayer characterizes the sad history of Israel. Israel once enjoyed peace, in the time of King David, because he ruled with compassion and justice, and there was unity among all the tribes. Nevertheless, after his reign, his son Solomon, who initially worked on the foundations laid down by his Father David, soon brought disaster upon his kingdom because of his infidelity to God and the Covenant. After him, most of the kings of Israel and Judah were unfaithful to God, and this brought down disaster upon Israel. In the hope of a restoration of peace, justice and fairness – “utopic society,” the Prophet Isaiah in today’s first reading prophesied the rise of a new Davidic King who will embody the ancient ideal of Davidic kingship. Here Isaiah looks forward to a new Davidide (shoot that springs from the stock of Jesse), on whom the Spirit rests in all its fullness with its sevenfold gifts, who will realize the ancient ideals – an establishment of a utopic society, where the wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion feed together, with a little boy to lead them… This picture of the idyllic harmony of paradise is a dramatic symbol of universal peace and justice under the rule of the new Davidic king. Thus, the peace and harmony even among carnivores and their natural prey in this description suggest a paradisiac aspect of the reign of the new king.
Jesus is that promised and expected Davidic King, the hope for all of humanity in our pursuit of true peace, justice, harmony and joy. His coming is a twofold event. In his first advent, he sent his disciples to proclaim the gospel. They were told to heal the sick, cast out demons, and say to the people, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” (Lk 10:9) This is the inauguration of that “Davidic Kingdom” which would reach its full completion at the Parousia (second advent). Little wonder, he told his disciples in today’s gospel reading: “Happy the eyes that see what you see, for I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see, and never saw it; to hear what you hear, and never heard it.”
Dear friends in Christ, undoubtedly, we all long for peace and unity in our homes, society, country and among nations. In spite of what is happening in the society and in the world today, like Israel, we must never give up hope even when we seem to have lost everything. We might have lost our loved ones, suffered a failed relationship, lost our job or our business, succumbed to a serious and even terminal illness, and, like Israel, we feel cut to the stump, but still, we must never lose hope for revival and renewal. Indeed, as the prophet said, from the stump a new shoot would spring up. So too from the ruins of our lives, God will raise us up as He did for Israel by sending us a new Davidic King in the person of Jesus. Let us continually hope in the salvation of God, especially when we have lost all hope in life, in restoring a broken relationship, in finding a job or growing our business, or in overcoming an incurable or terminal illness; we must believe and trust in the Lord who can work wonders for us and restore justice, peace and equilibrium to our society and the world at large. As we long for that phenomenal reality, we continue to sing to him: “O come, o come, o come; we have no King but Thee.”
© Fr. Chinaka Justin Mbaeri, OSJ
Paroquia Nossa Senhora de Fatima, Vila Sabrina, São Paulo, Brazil
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
PS: Have you prayed your Rosary today?