Second Sunday of Advent
Return to God (Isaiah 11:1-10; Matthew 3:1-12)
One of my favorite biblical texts is from Isaiah, describing “Utopia.” By definition, "Utopia has no place;" but it is not something that does not exist, it simply "does not exist ... yet." It is not now our reality, but it can become our reality. In fact, it wants to be and, as we can see in so many ways, it struggles to become so. And so, it will be. As Gerhard Ebeling said, "The most real of the real is not the real itself, but its possibilities" ...
Utopian (Hope-full) thinking is an essential component of our Judeo-Christian journey, which has experienced the Sacred in history through faith, hope, and love in the call of a Love-Justice utopia. We feel and experience the utopian call of justice throughout history.
Love-Justice utopia is the DNA of our Christian heritage. In its call we experience and know that it will always be characterized by working for the poor – the “oppressed” at any level or type of injustice (economic, cultural, racial, gender, etc.). Sadly, today, such injustice for many around the world is becoming more and more ignored.
The prophet Isaiah describes Utopia, and shares the divine dream that inspires him: a beloved, corporeal world, without injustice or oppression; a world in harmony even with nature, which later (along with Jesus of Nazareth) will be called the “Realm of God”. When God reigns, the world is transformed: injustice yields to justice, sin to forgiveness, hate to love, and toxic human relationships are reconstructed over a network of love, mutuality, and solidarity.
Today, we find a world in constant tension and agony because of the many the issues of injustice that exist. Several Latin American countries are even now fighting in the streets for justice for all people as our uncompromising human right. Meanwhile, religious fundamentalism —making a perverse use of Biblical texts— wants to deny these rights, which we have obtained only minimally, and after so much struggle and the lost lives of those who dedicated their work for the cause of justice. Additionally, in the US, the same abuse of immigrants calls out for justice and demands from us a commitment to return to God to realize God’s domain in this world.
Advent is, par excellence, the liturgical time of hope. And hope is the «virtue» of utopia, the force that utopia causes, created in all people to wait with a confident, expectant, active hope. Advent is therefore, the best time to reflect on this essential utopian dimension of Christianity; and a time to examine whether our Christianity, our response to the call we have received over time, has perhaps forgotten or lost its essence – the vision of utopia and the active hope that comes from returning to God, crying out, and acting up to make justice happen for all people.
Rev. Elder Hector Gutierrez