The Twilight Zone was a television series that ran for a few years in the early 1960’s. Created by Rod Serling, the program is described by Wikipedia as “unrelated stories depicting paranormal, futuristic, kafkaesque, or otherwise disturbing or unusual events.”(I really love that description!) If you have never watched an episode, just Google it and enjoy (if that is what one can do watching something described as ‘kafkaesque!) What was largely popular about the series was its ability to describe scenarios that seemed totally impossible, but in some way very attractive. I feel the same way about this Sunday’s first reading!
In the 11th chapter of Isaiah we get a prophecy that must have sounded like the script of The Twilight Zone! The wolf shall be the guest of the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together. Sheer madness! Imagine a world where hunters and the hunted hang out together, where mortal enemies become friends, where judgments aren’t made on appearance or hearsay: Now that is Kafkaesque! And yet that is the image of reality that is described for the days when this shoot from the stump of Jesse comes forth to break all of our stereotyped images of friend and enemy. In this brave new world it will be glorious, and pales in comparison to the pseudo-paradise we sometimes believe ourselves to be in. It is that world for which we should be prepared and there are no black Fridays or cyber Mondays to get it all in.
Advent preparation takes time. It takes not just these four short weeks, it takes a life time. A life time of recognizing that the world Isaiah describes is not the Twilight Zone, but rather it is our world that is ‘disturbing and unusual.’ May we embrace the challenge of John the Baptist to strip away the trappings of this life that hinder us from seeing and welcoming the savior who alone can transform our world into a place of true and lasting peace. In that way Peace on Earth will not simply be a lighted decoration or a slogan on a Christmas card, but rather the reality that God came among us to restore.
Have a great week and know that you are always welcome in my office, or to stop me on campus.