The result of the recent referendum has come as a surprise to many. It is a turning point for all as we embark on an uncertain future.
The prophet Isaiah, speaking to a broken people, faced uncertainty with confidence. “Rejoice, Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who mourned her. Now towards her I send peace, flowing peace like a river, and like a stream in spate.”
The prophet’s confidence found its strength in God Himself rather than in Jerusalem’s past history and violent division. Where sin had alienated and divided, grace would gather as a mother gathers a child to her breast.
Israel’s past history is far removed from the present, but, if there is to be a future following the referendum, it must surely reconcile past hurt, hear voices that have been unheard and bring peace to those most in need. “Then will your heart rejoice and your bones flourish like the grass. To his servants the Lord will reveal his hand.”
The referendum, more than anything in recent years, has brought us to a reluctant humility. Let us pray that, amid the many uncertainties, we remain open to the hand of the Lord and the reassurance of his promised kingdom.
The instructions of Jesus to the 72 disciples, setting out on their first mission, have much to say to ourselves as we approach the future. The disciples were called to the future with confidence. “The harvest is rich, but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord to send labourers into his harvest.”
In the days ahead there will be many opportunities to stand by the values proclaimed in the Gospel. Christ proclaimed a kingdom of peace,reconciliation and forgiveness. His Gospel broke down the divisions that had dislocated the society of his day. These are precisely the qualities that must be brought to our ongoing debate, and we should not hesitate to proclaim them in the name of the Lord. The 72 disciples were not to hold on to past securities: “Carry no purse, no haversack, no sandals.”
We must indeed learn from the past. With humility we must leave behind the attitudes that will hinder the future. Let us listen to the Lord so that we might listen to each other.
This article first appeared in the July 1 2016 issue of The Catholic Herald. To read the magazine in full, from anywhere in the world, go here.
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