Day 209: God Comforts His People

Isaiah 39:1-11 With all his riches and military might, Hezekiah becomes blinded by pride, forgetting that he was lavishly blessed by God; Isaiah reproached him for neglecting to recognize the source of his riches and victories. Isaiah prophesied that the land of Judah would be stripped of its possessions and conquered by the Babylonians.

Ch 40:1-11 Here begins the second part of Isaiah, which is situated at least a century later than the first part. It is now long after Hezekiah’s reign ended, and the threatened deportation to Babylon had taken place. This section intends to provide consolation to the exiles who would return to Judah to restore Jerusalem and its Temple. The ultimate consolation rests in the coming of the Messiah, who would bring salvation to the whole world. (CCC 754)

Ch 40:1-5, 9-11 These verses comprise one option for the First Reading at Mass on the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Ch 40:3 This verse is a prophecy concerning St. John the Baptist, the last prophet and the precursor of Christ, who announced and prepared the way for the imminent arrival of the Messiah and identified Jesus as such at the River Jordan (cf. Jn 1:30). (CCC 719)

Ch 40:5 Glory of the Lord: God’s perfection is revealed and communicated in a limited way through creation. (CCC 568)

Ch 40:6 ALl members of the faithful, by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, are called to evangelize the world by both example and word, proclaiming that Christ is the Savior. Christ taught that the witness of charity and joy gives credibility to the truth of Christianity. As St. Francis of Assisi advised famously: “Preach always, and use words if necessary.” (CCC 990)

Ch 40:12-31 This lengthy series of rhetorical questions and statements reminds the reader of God’s intimate involvement not only in the creation and design of the world but also with its ongoing existence. God transcends creation but at the same time is profoundly immanent to all of creation through his power. His divine providence extends in a special way to all men and women, especially those who embrace his will. (CCC 302-307, 321-323)

The Book of Ezekiel

Author and Date:


Main Themes:

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Ezekiel 1-48 The Book of Ezekiel both pronounces judgment on God’s people and emphasizes God’s consolation. The first half of Ezekiel largely accuses wrongdoers and threatens them with punishment, while the latter half is a consoling message of messianic hope. Ezekiel was taken to Babylon during the first deportation in 597 BC, and his prophetic ministry took place there.

Ch 1:1-3 Thirtieth year: Upon reaching thirty years of age, a priest was permitted to perform his priestly duties in the Temple; Ezekiel at that time was a relatively young priest when he had his visions. Likewise, Christ began his ministry about age thirty.

Fifth year of the exile: This tells us that Ezekiel began his ministry in 593 BC after having been in exile for five years. Thus, he was never able to perform his priestly duties in the Temple in Jerusalem.

Chebar: A tributary of the Euphrates River near Babylon.

Ch 1:4-28 In his first vision, Ezekiel struggled to come up with words to describe accurately the splendor and glory of God that was being revealed to him. The glory of God goes so far beyond human comprehension that any kind of description or representation falls short. (CCC 300)

Ch 1:5 Four living creatures: These beings with unusual powers symbolize all living creatures who are called to give glory to God both in their existence and in their actions. Early Christian scholars associated the four creatures with the four Evangelists based on how each began his Gospel. In this scheme, Matthew is the man since his Gospel starts with a genealogy of Christ; Mark, whose gospel begins with the cry of St. John the Baptist in the wilderness, is the lion; Luke, who commences with sacrifice, is symbolized by the bull, a common sacrificial animal, and John is represented by the eagle for the loftiness of his theology that stresses Christ’s divinity. (CCC 293-294, 299)

Ch 1:15 Wheel: This symbolizes all inanimate creation, which also reveals God’s glory.

Ch 1:26-28 Likeness of a throne: In the visions of the prophetic books and in the Book of Revelation, God is usually enthroned, a sign of his sovereignty over all creation. (CCC 1137)

Proverbs 11:31 The sense of this passage is that there are consequences to both good and evil actions in the present life. This points to the ancient belief that prosperity is a sign of favor from God and illness or calamity are punishments for sin. Through Christ’s teaching and the agony of his Passion, we know that suffering is not necessarily a punishment for sin; rather, it is a reality that even includes people striving for holiness. Nevertheless, those who struggle to please God and seek to give him glory receive the gift of peace and joy in this life. (CCC 1763-1766)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and we thank you so much for your Word. Thank you for speaking to us. Thank you for coming to us and being among us. Thank you not only for being with us in our good days, in our days of strength, in our days of victory, in our days where we know that we belong, that we are loved. But also, Lord God, we thank you for being with us on those days where it is difficult to know if anyone notices. It is difficult to know if anyone knows us. It is difficult to know if anyone truly loves. You are the God who is so faithful that you love us when no one else does. You see us when no one else sees. You are with us when we are alone and no one else is with us. And so we thank you and we give you praise because you do this. You love us solely out of the goodness of you: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And so we are so grateful, so thankful. We love you, God. Thank you for loving us. Receive our prayer and help us to love you better in Jesus’ name. Amen.”