The verb is in the present tense: “He comes …” We can be sure of his coming in this very moment. We do not have to wait till tomorrow, or the end of time, or the next life. God acts immediately, because love shuns both hesitation and delay.
The prophet Isaiah is speaking to a people anxiously waiting for their exile to end so they can return to their homeland. For us too who are waiting for Christmas, we cannot but recall a similar promise given to Mary: “The Lord is with you” (Lk 1:28), as the angel announces to her the birth of the Lord.
The Lord does not come for a casual visit. His is a decisive intervention, a matter of greatest importance. He comes to save us! From what? Are we in grave danger? Yes. At times we are aware of it, at other times not. He intervenes because he sees our selfishness, our indifference to those who suffer or who are in need, our hatred, our divisions. The heart of humanity is ailing. Moved by pity, he comes towards each one he has made, who he does not want to be lost.
The Lord offers his outstretched hand as if to the drowning victim of a shipwreck. Sadly these days this image is always in front us, brought to mind day by day when we see those refugees who are trying to cross seas, those immigrants crossing borders. We witness how quickly they grasp an outstretched hand or a life jacket.
We too, in every moment, can grasp God’s outstretched hand and follow him with trust. He does not only heal our hearts from self-absorption, which closes us off from others, but he makes us, in our turn, able to help those who are in need, who are sorrowful, who are going through trials.
“Certainly it is not the historical Jesus or Jesus as head of the Mystical Body who sorts out our problems,” wrote Chiara Lubich. “It is done by Jesus-us, Jesus-me, Jesus-you… It is Jesus in human beings, in that specific human being (when grace is present in him or her) who builds a bridge, lays down a road …
“It is as another Christ, as a member of his Mystical Body, that each human being brings his or her characteristic contribution in all fields: in the sciences, in the arts, in politics, in communications, and so on.” The person thus works together with Christ.
“It is the incarnation that continues, a complete incarnation that involves all those who are Jesus in Christ’s Mystical Body.” (“Jesus Forsaken and the Collective and Cultural Night,” an address given by Chiara Lubich to a group of young women on January 7, 2007).
This is exactly what happened to Roberto, an ex-convict who found someone who “saved” him and who then, in turn, became someone who “saved” others. He told his experience at a Focolare gathering in Villa Borghese in Rome last April.
“When my long-term prison sentence came to an end, I thought I would start life again, but as usually happens, even if you have paid your debt to society, you still seem very suspect to people.
“I found the doors shut in my search for work. I had to beg on the streets, and for seven months I lived as a tramp. But then I met Alfonso who, through an organization started by him, helps prisoners’ families.
“He said to me, ‘If you want to start again, come with me.’ For a year now I have been helping him prepare food packages for these families in whom I see a reflection of myself. I see the dignity of these women who are alone with little children, living in desperate situations, waiting for someone to give them a bit of comfort, a bit of love.
“Giving of myself, I have rediscovered my own dignity as a human being, and my life has meaning. I have more strength because I have God in my heart, and I feel I am loved …”
Fr. Fabio Ciardi, OMI
Each month the Focolare offers a Scripture passage as a guide and inspiration for daily living. Ever since the Focolare’s earliest years, founder Chiara Lubich (1920–2008) wrote her own commentaries each month. Now Fr. Fabio Ciardi, OMI, theologian and close collaborator of Lubich, heads a group of scripture experts who have been entrusted with the task of writing the Word of Life commentaries, reflecting her thoughts and her spirituality of unity.
This Word of Life is translated into 96 different languages and reaches several million people worldwide through the media. This monthly leaflet is also a supplement to Living City, the Focolare magazine (livingcitymagazine.com). For information and to subscribe to this leaflet or to the magazine, write to: Living City, 202 Comforter Blvd, Hyde Park, NY 12538; tel: 845-229-0496; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit focolare.org (international) or focolare.us (U.S.).
© 2016 by Living City of the Focolare Movement, Inc.
Lubich, Chiara. “How I met you,” Essential Writings, New City Press: Hyde Park, New York: 2007, p. 56.
Lubich, Chiara. “The attraction of modern times,” Essential Writings, New City Press: Hyde Park, New York: 2007, pp.169–178.