The Responsorial Psalm tells us what to rely on in seeking to change the world: “The Lord our God comes in
strength” (Isaiah 40).
When Isaiah 40: 1-11 tells us “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed….” he uses the language of power. God “rules by his strong arm.” But God doesn’t use “strongarm” tactics. Rather, “like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs… leading the ewes with care.”
In the Old Testament deeds of evident power revealed the “glory of the Lord”: impressive signs and military victories over enemies. But in Jesus Christ the New Testament reveals the “glory of the Lord” in a very different way.
When the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace….” (Luke 2:14), it was because Jesus was born as a weak infant in a poor stable in Bethlehem.
In Jesus the power of God is revealed in weakness. When “the Lord our God comes in strength,” it is the strength of vulnerability, gentleness, and love. This is the strength that overcomes sin, transforms hearts and renews the face of the earth. This is the strength we must trust in.
This strength seeks, not to change people by changing the environment, but to change the environment by changing people. The “reign of God” exists only in the measure that our hearts freely surrender to him.
To work with Jesus, then, in establishing the “reign of God,” we must focus above all on loving, nurturing, forgiving and forming human persons. Changing people, winning their hearts, is what it’s all about. For this the only power that succeeds is the power of truth and love.
In Matthew 18: 12-14 we see how Jesus exercises his power. As the Good Shepherd, he goes in search of the lost sheep, puts it on his shoulders, and brings it home. And he tells us that this is what God wills: “It is no part of your heavenly Father’s plan that a single one of these little ones shall ever come to grief.”
We are called to find meaning in life, the highest meaning and value there is, in doing what Jesus did: caring for his sheep. For this we don’t need great talents, training, money, connections, or special circumstances. We just have to unite ourselves to Jesus Christ and let him love every person on earth through us.
This is the way that “The Lord our God comes in strength.” Does this give you confidence?
Initiative: If you seek fulfillment, seek it where it can be found. Imitate Jesus. Decide now to find your fulfillment in showing love to every person you meet.