Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away! The Lord called me before I was born, while I was in my mother’s womb he named me. He made my mouth like a sharp sword, in the shadow of his hand he hid me; he made me a polished arrow, in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” But I said, “I have labored in vain, I have spent my strength for nothing and vanity; yet surely my cause is with the Lord, and my reward with my God.”
And now the Lord says, who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, and that Israel might be gathered to him, for I am honored in the sight of the Lord, and my God has become my strength— he says, “It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
We are all created in the image and likeness of God. More than ever, these words should remind us that we have a responsibility to serve our brothers and sisters, because we are made for action. Even when we feel that we are “laboring in vain” God has created us as specialized instruments for his arsenal. We should not presume that these are merely instruments of war, however. Notice that the following lines are about building and restoring community. Today, no message could be more pertinent as look at our wider political climate. Too often we are separated by ideology and not united to build and serve the kingdom of God.
Let us rise to the call of being the “light to the nations” and work for peace and the common good, tearing down divisions so that God’s salvation might reach the ends of the earth.
—Fr. R.J. Fichtinger, SJ, is a priest of the Midwest Province.
Lord Jesus, you call us to work for peace and justice in our communities, both locally and globally. Open our hearts to those with whom we disagree, help us to build bridges toward our opponents so that we can work together to bring about your kingdom on earth. May we allow ourselves to be your instruments in our world. Amen.
—The Jesuit Prayer team