The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees.
Say to those who are of a fearful heart, “Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God. He will come with vengeance, with terrible recompense. He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Isaiah gives hope to the suffering people of Israel by picturing the wonderful world redeemed by God. “Be glad, rejoice, see, hear, leap, sing” are all words of joyful hope. In the Gospel from today’s Mass, we read that while John the Baptist was languishing in prison awaiting death, he wondered if Jesus was the Messiah (. John’s doubt is understandable; he needed to know if his life had been worthwhile. Jesus’ yes is shown by his fulfilling the hopes Isaiah preached.
What gives us hope today? Since the Middle Ages the Church has founded hospitals, lazar houses for lepers, orphanages, and universities. Many governments have taken up these same services. However, besides governments, the greatest provider of help to the suffering is our Church. How many see God’s beauty, hear music, walk upright, are healed, and hear the Good News because of our Church. Yes, let us be glad and rejoice in the glory God is creating through us.
—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJ, is a retreat director at Our Lady of the Oaks Retreat House in Grand Coteau, LA.
With Pope Francis in December we pray “that every country takes the measures necessary to prioritize the future of the very young, especially those who are suffering.”
—Fr. Louis McCabe, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!