A deacon friend of mine in America once pointed me to a website that asks for your solutions or opinions on “how to fix the world.” They have some interesting remedies, ranging to from all parts the spectrum - - from “how to prevent tailgating” to “how to solve world hunger.” Like most inventions or stacked ideas, there is usually something missing; but what is missing is the problem that led to the quest for a solution.
In our First Reading today (Is 61:1-2, 10-11) the “problem” is clearly stated. Far too many people are poor and broken hearted, and many are prisoners (both spiritually. physically and mentally). Social injustice and lack of brotherly love are at the root of the problem, caused and aggravated by an unfaithfulness to God’s expressed will for his people. This problem seems to be expressed in every generation, because even Jesus tells us that we will always have the poor with us (Matthew 26:11). But the “solution” is also clearly stated by Isaiah. Unlike the “fix the world” website suggestions, which are a bit like dreams without a chance of fulfilment, the Prophet Isaiah points to the “core” of the problem: justice and love.
Our God is a God of mercy and love; he is also a God of justice. In His divine plan, justice and love go hand in hand and are almost synonymous. You see this clearly in the Commandments and Beatitudes, and in the “last judgment” scenes from scripture. You can’t have one without the other. And we are called by God to be his disciples, the instruments of his love and justice.
You will know that the “spirit of the Lord is upon you” when you treat everyone with identical justice and love. This is your move to speak out against social injustice; to denounce cultural immorality; to follow the directions of God’s chosen representatives; and when you engage regularly in the well-known trilogy of prayer-almsgiving-fasting.
Jesus Christ made this scripture above from Isaiah his "inaugural address," proclaiming the Good News. It is because he embraced our death that he can now communicate his own Spirit of life to us. Isaiah (and Jesus) use the language of “promise,” and his mission becomes the mission of the Church (all of us); we are his instruments for transforming the world. Our empowerment comes from our Baptism and Confirmation.