Isaiah 49:1-6 These verses initiate the second portion of the “servant song” of Isaiah. Here the servant stated that his God-given mission preceded his birth and that the Lord would use him as his special messenger. By his obedience the servant would thus glorify God.
To bring Jacob...gathered to him: Centuries before the Birth of Christ, Isaiah prophesied that all nations would be included in the blessings of his New Covenant, which would consist in the Law of Charity accompanied by the grace to reflect the sanctity of Christ. Everyone is called to a life in Christ through the grace of the Sacraments and the desire and determination to live the Gospel message. (CCC 64, 713, 868)
Ch 49:7-13 The Lord tendered special care to the exiles who were returning to Judah, providing for their needs along the way and consoling those who had already arrived. Upon their return, the exiled people found their land in ruins and their Temple destroyed. (CCC 716)
Ch 49:14-26 In times of trial, the people of Israel often felt that God had abandoned them. Nothing could be further from the truth since, as Isaiah stated, the Lord’s love for his people is greater than even that of a nursing or expectant mother. While we call God our Father, Isaiah ascribes him the maternal qualities of affection and tenderness. Although God is a transcendent spirit without gender, he nevertheless is revealed to be a Father who, as it were, has the heart of both a father and a mother. (CCC 219, 239, 370)
Ch 50:1-11 The fourth verse includes another of the servant songs. It is a poem of three stanzas that describes the servant as embracing God’s will. This identification with God’s will would bring much suffering upon this servant. The anguish and suffering, however, would lead to the redemption of the human race.
I was not rebellious...shame and spitting: These prophetic words describe in great detail the humiliation and pain of the suffering Messiah. (CCC 134-141, 713)
Ch 50:4-7 This passage comprises the First Reading at Mass on Palm Sunday of the Passion of the Lord, the first day of Holy Week.
Ezekiel 10:1-22 In Ezekiel’s vision of the fiery destruction of the Temple, he expressed dramatically God’s departure from the sanctuary. The cherubim are the four living creatures who, on behalf of all creatures, adore and give glory to God.
Ch 11:1-13 The people of Jerusalem thought of themselves as invincible as long as they had the Temple and God’s presence within it; this misguided confidence led them to presume that their infidelities would go unpunished.
Twenty-five men: Those who had been particularly steeped in idolatry and sin and also sought to make a pact with Egypt against Babylon.
You have feared...upon you: The rulers, who showed no courage, leadership, or righteousness, would be singled out for harsher treatment and slain ceremoniously outside the city walls. Their scandalous example and propagation of evil provoked divine justice. (CCC 2285-2286)
Ch 11:14-25 The Jews who were left behind in Judah believed naively that they were righteous and that those in exile were sinful; this attitude gave them a sense of invincibility. This prophecy, therefore, spoke directly to those in Jerusalem. Next came a prophecy for the exiles in Babylon, assuring them that they would be regathered and resettled in the land God had given them. The fulfillment of this promise, however, required repentance from sin and a return to fidelity to God’s covenant. (CCC 1098, 1432, 1848, 1896)
Ch 11:19 This prophecy regarding a change of heart by receiving a new spirit would be fulfilled at Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and other disciples gathered in the Upper Room. Ultimately, the work of conversion and the renewal of hearts is an act of the Holy Spirit in cooperation with a response inspired by a desire for repentance and interior reform. (CCC 711, 715, 1433, 1989, 2027-2028)
(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)
Honestly, it is an INCREDIBLE GIFT to be a part of this community on this journey
Whether Day 214 is the 214th day of this particular year
Or whether it is YOUR Day 214
THAT DOESN’T MATTER
When it comes to God, time and space get TRANSCENDED
If you are still here, PRAISE GOD!!
We are so stoked, jacked, psyched, whatever the word is, pumped to enter Isaiah Chs 49 and 50
We get another SERVANT SONG
There are a number of SERVANT SONGS in Isaiah
Remember, Ezekiel beginning in Ch 8 is seeing the GLORY OF GOD by being transported to Jerusalem IN SPIRIT
Now, he is going to see God LEAVING THE TEMPLE which is TRAGIC
OH MY GOSH THIS IS INCREDIBLE!
WHAT A GIFT!
Isaiah Chs 49 and 50 are just...aaah...ok…..context (oh yeah, I know, Fr. Mike!! 🤯🤯🤯)
The context of course...originally….
Remember all the PROPHETS, whenever they prophesy, they are talking about HERE and NOW
They are not just FORETELLING (which is about the future)
They are FORTHTELLING (which is about the truth NOW)
They are speaking about the CURRENT REALITY as in NOW
One of the things that Isaiah is talking about here is the SERVANT’S MISSION
Who is he talking about?
He is talking about ISRAEL!
The people of Israel will be BROUGHT BACK
There is an IMMEDIATE REALITY that Isaiah is speaking about the people of Israel
There is also a DISTANT REALITY that Isaiah is speaking, even though he doesn’t know it, ABOUT THE FUTURE MESSIAH!!
HE IS SPEAKING ABOUT JESUS HIMSELF!!
We will talk about those connections in a second
It is worth highlighting the fact that this is from The Book of Consolation in Isaiah (Chs 40-66)
Remember, The Book of Woe is Chs 1-39 in Isaiah
How much more consolation than in Isaiah Ch 49?
Isaiah 49:1-3, “...The Lord called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name. He made my mouth like a sharp sword…’You are my servant, Israel, in whom I will be glorified.’”
There is so much to be said here that Fr. Mike knows he will not do it justice
You heard it
You heard the words of God that there is COMFORT
YOU WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN
Isaiah 49:14, “But Zion said, ‘The Lord has forsaken me, my Lord has forgotten me.’”
God responds, “Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”
Yes, there is the case that the parent could forget their child
EVEN THOUGH SHE MAY FORGET, I WILL NOT FORGET YOU!
Isaiah 49:16, “Behold, I have graven you on the palms of my hands…”
I HAVE WRITTEN YOUR NAME!
That word of God comes to us SO STRONGLY
GOD SAYING, “I HAVE ENGRAVED YOU, I HAVE INSCRIBED YOU, I HAVE CARVED YOU, YOUR NAME, IN THE PALMS OF MY HANDS.”
We see in that not only the REALITY OF GOD’S UNDYING AND UNSTOPPABLE LOVE FOR YOU
GOD WILL NEVER FORGET YOU!!
We see that happen REALLY, ACTUALLY, AND TRULY IN JESUS’ CRUCIFIXION!!
In Christ’s Crucifixion here on the palms of his hands
After Christ’s Resurrection, he showed the disciples his hands and his feet
HE KEPT THOSE WOUNDS
He DID NOT KEEP all the wounds of the SCOURGING
He DID NOT KEEP all the wounds of the BEATING HE TOOK
HE KEPT THE WOUNDS IN HIS FEET
HE KEPT THE WOUNDS IN HIS HANDS
HE KEPT THE WOUND IN HIS SIDE
Here is GOD, who ALLOWED Himself to be WOUNDED for OUR TRANSGRESSIONS
AND HE KEPT THOSE WOUNDS IN HIS HANDS
He has engraved YOUR NAME on the PALM OF HIS HAND
WHICH IS INCREDIBLE!
Isaiah Ch 50, here is the SUFFERINGS OF THE SERVANT
IMMEDIATELY, this is Israel
ULTIMATELY, THIS IS JESUS!!
THIS IS SO INCREDIBLE!!
THIS IS JESUS!!
Isaiah 50:5, “The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious. I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I hid not my face from shame and spitting.”
HERE IS JESUS WHO IS COMPLETELY FAITHFUL TO HIS FATHER!!
THAT IS JESUS!! “I set my face like flint…”
That is how Jesus Christ set his face when he went to Jerusalem and face his Passion, Death, and Resurrection
HE SET HIS FACE LIKE FLINT TO GO TO JERUSALEM!!
GO READ AND RE-READ Isaiah Chs 49-54!!
We have MORE chapters like this coming up!! (ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?? ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED????? 🤯🤯🤯)
Now on to Ezekiel
Ezekiel Chs 8-11 talk about how he was transported in spirit by the River Chebar all the way down to Jerusalem where he saw all the ABOMINATIONS happening in the Temple
He BORE THE SINS OF THE PEOPLE on his back
He was a PRIEST, remember
He also saw the GLORY OF GOD in the Temple
He also saw the GLORY OF GOD DEPART FROM THE TEMPLE
Ezekiel 11:23, “And the glory of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city.”
He is brought back to Babylon and related ALL THAT HE SAW
THIS IS SO TRAGIC!!
The people had ABANDONED THE LORD
The people had done SO MANY ABOMINATIONS IN THE TEMPLE OF THE LORD
For a time, the Spirit of the Lord DEPARTED
The FIRST VISION Ezekiel had on the River Chebar was OF THE SAME GLORY OF GOD!!
So we know that GOD DID NOT ABANDON HIS PEOPLE AT ALL
His Glory FOLLOWED THEM BUT WAS COMPLETELY HIDDEN WHILE THEY WERE IN EXILE!!
That’s how it is SO OFTEN WITH US
Whether we are FAITHFUL
Whether we are UNFAITHFUL
WE DON’T ALWAYS SEE THE GLORY OF GOD!
IS SO OFTEN HIDDEN IN OUR LIVES!
SO WE PRAY
We pray to not only be FAITHFUL TO THE LORD
We pray that when we CAN’T SEE HIS GLORY
We pray that when we CAN’T SEE HIS PRESENCE
We pray that WE REMAIN FAITHFUL
We pray that WE REMAIN HIS
ALL THE DAYS AND ALL THE NIGHTS AND ALL THE ENTIRETY OF OUR LIVES!!
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and thank you. Thank you so much. Gosh, Lord. Thank you so much for prophesying not only the redemption of Israel, but the coming of Jesus Christ, your Servant, your Son, our Savior. We thank you so much, Lord God. We cannot even begin to praise your name for the faithfulness of the Jewish people, your Covenant people. Praise your name for the faithfulness of those first Christians, who were called by your Son, called by name. We thank you for the Christians throughout history who have been faithful and have endured storms and have endured trials and have passed on the faith down to us at this moment where we can read and we can listen to your Word. We thank you so much for all those who have gone before us. Thank you for our Jewish brothers and sisters. Thank you for our Christian brothers and sisters who have gone before us. We ask that you bring all people, all people, especially those who do not know you, those who do not know your Son, Jesus into full Covenant with you, God. Because you are the one who has been promised, and you are the one who has fulfilled that promise. Help us. Please help us all to hear your voice and to be drawn closer and closer to your heart. We make this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.”