See, my servant shall prosper; he shall be exalted and lifted up, and shall be very high. Just as there were many who were astonished at him—so marred was his appearance, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of mortals— so he shall startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths because of him; for that which had not been told them they shall see, and that which they had not heard they shall contemplate.
Who has believed what we have heard? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account.
Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By a perversion of justice he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. They made his grave with the wicked and his tomb with the rich, although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain. When you make his life an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days; through him the will of the Lord shall prosper. Out of his anguish he shall see light; he shall find satisfaction through his knowledge. The righteous one, my servant, shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.
Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
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.
Having just returned from a border immersion experience in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico, I found myself reading and re-reading the words from today’s first reading.
As we gather today in mourning, I can’t help but remember the tired eyes of the five-year-old girl on the Juarez side of the border … the devout manner of the way-too-young girls and boys in the detention center … and the shy smile of a man and his son just delivered to the shelter, waiting for their number to be called. They, too, were spurned and avoided, held in no esteem for want of amnesty, a job, a way to eat, a roof.
Today we are inspired to realize deeply the tragedy of Jesus’ death in the context of our own sorrows and trials. It amazes me how the migrants we encountered on our trip can sustain such suffering and pain. Perhaps the will of the Lord is accomplished through the migrants’ trust in God and through the caring, committed individuals who accompany them on their journeys?
How can we treat our brothers and sisters in such a manner? Have I, too, gone astray like a sheep … just following my own way?
—Vicki Simon is the director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps in St. Louis.
In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.
In your justice rescue me, incline your ear to me,
Make haste to deliver me!
Be my rock of refuge, a stronghold to give me safety.
You are my rock and my fortress; for your name’s sake you will lead and guide me.
You will free me from the snare they set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem me, O Lord, O faithful God.
—Psalm 31:2-6Please share the Good Word with your friends!