Jan 7, 2016
Every time we come to the Solemnity of the Baptism of the Lord, I think of one of my favorite scriptural passages taken from the prophet Isaiah. God's servant, the prophet declares, brings forth justice "not crying out, not shouting, not making his voice heard in the street." And in powerful words, the passage says of God's servant: "A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoldering wick he shall not quench."
Applied to the Church today, the fundamental message is that the role of God's servants is not to preach hell fire and damnation to broken people, to make them walk away with a sense that the Church does not care, or even rejects them. The role of God's servant is to bring encouragement and hope to those who are broken, bruised, and discouraged.
The "bruised reed" is a good image of human vulnerability and frailty. In the world of nature, the bruised reed, if tended gently, still grows and thrives in the proper environment, even if with difficulty; but in a harsh environment the bruised reed breaks and dies.
Christians are called to treat the bruised reeds among their brothers and sisters with gentleness and care, so that they may thrive and grow, and not spiritually fade and die.