Shout out, do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins. Yet day after day they seek me and delight to know my ways, as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their God; they ask of me righteous judgments, they delight to draw near to God.
“Why do we fast, but you do not see? Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?” Look, you serve your own interest on your fast day, and oppress all your workers. Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight and to strike with a wicked fist. Such fasting as you do today will not make your voice heard on high. Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you, the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
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.
After Adam eats of the fruit of the tree in Genesis, he hides himself from God. God comes through the garden, seeking Adam and asking “where are you?” We might feel the desire to turn that question to God. We look throughout the world and see all manner of hurt. We think of friends and loved ones who are sick, who are in broken and harmful situations that they cannot escape from and we ask God “where are you?” We look at our lives, we see our own thwarted desires and disappointment and ask God “where are you?” We wonder if God, like Adam in the garden, is hiding from us in shame.
Today’s first reading from Isaiah gives us an answer: when we help people be free, when we feed and clothe and shelter those in need, when we make peace and share justice, God will cry to us: “Here I am!” In other words, when we let God use us to bring the Kingdom to people, we won’t have to ask God “where are you?” Instead, we will know from the good that we do that our God is here with us.
give us minds to know the good,
mouths to speak the truth,
and hearts to do beautiful deeds for your kingdom.
—James Kennedy, SJPlease share the Good Word with your friends!