Scripture: Lectionary 394. Exodus 12:37-42. Psalm 10:1-2,3-4,7-8,14.
"In his name the Gentiles will find hope." Matthew inserts this citation
from Isaiah and we as Christian readers who are participating in listening
to the passage in our first reading apply it to the ministry of Jesus.
Jesus is the Divine and human person in whom we find hope. Hope takes us
beyond our expectations and thus leads us into the realm of Jesus. We come
to experience him through our hope, our love, and our faith--virtues given
to us at Baptism through the power of the Spirit working in the sacrament
of our initiation into the Christ life.
Isaiah is one of the greatest prophets both in his person as well as in his
inspired writings. He has a great experience of God in chapter six of his
prophetic scroll and then continues on to give us more prophetic messages
through his continuous writings. The second and third parts are attributed
to another two inspired writers who know Isaiah so well that they continue
within his prophetic tradition. In fact, we are listening to a passage
from II Isaiah concerning the Suffering Servant of God. In our rereading
together with the primordial writing of this passage we apply it to Jesus
who is the Servant of God par excellence. We are often hearing from Isaiah
in the New Testament since this is the most cited of the prophets.
God is delighted in his Servant Jesus who then gives us cause for our hope.
The universality of the message is another great gift that separates
Isaiah from other prophetic writings---even the Gentiles are included and
that means we have reason to hope for the God of Israel is speaking to us
through his prophet Isaiah.
We see how Jesus goes about cautiously and with great discretion in his
early ministry in order to overcome the threat to his life. Both political
and religious minded people are conspiring against this unknown "carpenter"
who is healing people and performing unusual things among the people and
for them. Yet he does this without fanfare or self-glorification. His
glory is only to do the will of his heavenly Father. We see that in the
prayer we say each day, the Lord' Prayer, the Our Father.
Jesus teaches us to be faithful servants who listen to his words and who
are stewards of God's creative acts among us through grace and nature.
These two are together to give us hope for our world and its environment
and for ourselves as servants of God. We trust in the promises of the
prophets about hope and we trust all the moreso in Jesus who gives us hope.
To have the virtue of hope we need to constantly remember the good things
we have from God each day through the liturgy, through our parish and
community, and through the friends we have. Hope resides in our memory. In
Jesus we find our hope. No wonder that love and faith are also
strengthened through this virtue.Amen.
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