GOSH YOU GUYS!
Isaiah gets better and better
There have been some INCREDIBLE chapters in Isaiah for however many days we have been going through it
Isaiah Ch 7 that talks about God comes to Ahaz and says, “Ask me whatever you want.” and Ahaz says, “I will not tempt the Lord.” because Ahaz was going to go make an alliance with the Assyrians
God promises EMMANUEL will be with them
God promises a VIRGIN will conceive and give birth to a SON
Isaiah Ch 40 “They shall run and not grow weary. They shall walk and not faint. They will fly upon eagle’s wings.”
Isaiah Ch 53
Isaiah Ch 54
Isaiah Ch 55
Isaiah Ch 56
What we have been hearing is SO POWERFUL
Hopefully it also sounds familiar to you
These are Scriptures that are used in the LECTIONARY
The LECTIONARY is the list of Scriptures that are read at SUNDAY MASS and at DAILY MASS
These sections of Isaiah are MASSIVELY (pun intended? 😉) KNOWN and OFTEN USED
Here is an example of GOD’S PROMISE
Not only is there the REWARDS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
“Come receive bread without payment and drink wine and…” SO GOOD
Isaiah 56:3, “Let not the foreigner who has joined himself to the Lord say, ‘The Lord will surely separate me from his people’...”
So here is the STRANGER, not born Jewish, but he is brought into the covenant and feels like he is second class
He isn’t natively, ethnically, or racially Jewish
And God basically says, “No no no. Let NOT the foreigner say that.”
And also the EUNUCH, someone who worked in the courts and would be castrated so he wouldn’t be a threat to the king’s concubines or harem or whatever
But at the same time those eunuchs, while they may have had a role in the king’s court, were not considered powerful
Oftentimes, they were looked down on
The eunuchs were treated as second class citizens in many ways when it came to the People of Israel
And here is God saying as well in Isaiah 56:3-4, “Let not the eunuch say, ‘Behold I am a dry tree.’ For thus says the Lord: ‘To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths, who choose the things that please me and hold fast my covenant…who worship as I desire, I will give in my house and within my walls a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name which shall not be cut off.’”
And same thing for the FOREIGNERS
Isaiah 56:6, “And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord, to minister to him, to love the name of the Lord, and to be his servants, every one who keeps the sabbath, and does not profane it, and holds fast my covenant-these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar…”
Yes, God CHOSE the Jewish people to be HIS
These are the FIRST-BORN of God, the Jewish People
But he makes it ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that those people who COME TO THE LORD because they recognize his PRESENCE AMONG THE JEWISH PEOPLE
Those people WILL NOT BE SECOND CLASS
Their offerings and sacrifices WILL BE ACCEPTED
NOT ONLY THAT…
They are given a NAME!!
A NAME AMONG THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL!!
AN EVERLASTING NAME THAT SHALL NOT BE CUT OFF!!
THAT IS BETTER THAN SONS AND DAUGHTERS!!
Isaiah 56:7-8, “For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. Thus says the Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, I will gather yet others…”
Remember those people who were sent into EXILE?
That’s what God is going to do!
“I will gather the outcasts”
“I will also gather OTHERS besides those already gathered.”
This is the PROMISE OF GOD which is just BEYOND WHAT WE CAN EVEN IMAGINE!!
And that’s what Isaiah Ch 55 talks about too
Isaiah 55:7, “...let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”
This is the MYSTERY OF GOD
GOD IS COMPLETE JUSTICE
GOD IS COMPLETE MERCY
Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are my ways your ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Yeah I think I’ve heard that one at some point 😉)
This is the reason why we are doing the Bible in a Year
We want to have the Lord’s thoughts IN OUR MIND
We want to actually SEE the world the way the Lord REVEALS THE WORLD TO US
We want to actually SEE the world the way the Lord MADE THE WORLD
Yes, it’s true that if I think like the WORLD, my thoughts will NOT BE LIKE GOD’S THOUGHTS AND HIS THOUGHTS ARE NOT LIKE MY THOUGHTS
If we let ourselves, our vision, our view of the world be SHAPED BY GOD’S WORD, then it CHANGES THE WAY WE SEE
WE BEGIN TO SEE THINGS THE WAY GOD SEES THEM!!
WE EVEN BEGIN TO LOVE THE WAY GOD LOVES!!
THAT IS THE POWER OF HIS WORD!!
Isaiah 55:10-11, “For as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I intend, and prosper in the things for which I sent it.”
THAT’S THE PROMISE OF GOD!!
Hearing God’s Word proclaimed EVERY DAY…
Has changed EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE!
My life isn’t PERFECT
But listening to God’s Word everyday, His Word is ACCOMPLISHING THE WILL THAT HE SENT IT FOR!!
IT IS CHANGING MY LIFE!!
IT IS CHANGING THE WAY I SEE!!
IT IS CHANGING THE WAY I THINK!!
IT IS CHANGING THE WAY I LOVE!!
IT IS CHANGING THE WAY I LIVE!!
On to Ezekiel Ch 16
It’s a little PG-13
This is a recap of the story of Israel
Here is the newborn person that no one wanted
Yup, that is Israel
God says, “I claimed you and scrubbed you off, cleaned you of your blood, cleaned you of your brokenness, and your abandonment. I brought you to myself and I let you grow.”
This is God choosing Abraham out of all the human beings in the ENTIRE WORLD
“You and your family, this is where I am going to start this BLESSING OF THE WORLD.”
Then what did God do?
Out of Abraham, God raised up this massive FAMILY, this massive KINGDOM
And what does God say?
Here is this woman
He clothes her with beauty and grace
He feeds her well
She is dressed in fine linen and silk and embroidery
She has all this jewelry
God says, “You became captivated by your own beauty…”
This is the one no one wanted
This is the abandoned, forgotten, neglected child that God said, “No no. I will make you MINE.”
When she comes of age, he weds himself to her
This relationship of INTIMACY
This relationship of I AM YOURS AND YOU ARE MINE
Remember yesterday’s reading?
YOUR MAKER SHALL BECOME YOUR HUSBAND
But you got captivated with your own BEAUTY
But you got captivated with your own STRENGTH
But you got captivated with your own WISDOM
Basically they said, “I don’t need my God. I don’t need my husband anymore.”
They went after other lovers
ADULTERY IS AN IMAGE FOR IDOLATRY
God said, “You took the jewels I gave you. You took the wisdom I gave you. You took all the beauty I gave you and you made idols out of all of those things.”
God said, “Even prostitutes get paid for their services. But you did not even get paid. You gave EVERYTHING that I had given you. You gave your beauty, your goodness, all these things. You gave them away and you didn’t even get anything back.”
THIS IS WHAT IDOLS DO!
AND THEY DON’T GIVE BACK!!
God is the one who LOVES US and He just GIVES
Idols DON’T LOVE US BACK
We can love them WITH OUR WHOLE HEART
AND IDOLS WILL NEVER EVER LOVE US BACK
AND YET...OH GOSH...AND YET
God saw all of this and said, “I will restore you.”
THIS IS THE MERCY
THIS IS THE BEAUTY
THIS IS THE POWER
God says, “After all those places of your brokenness, you became worse than Sodom. You became worse than Samaria. AND YET...I WILL RESTORE YOU!”
God says in Ezekiel 16:60, “...yet I will remember my covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish with you an everlasting covenant.”
Remember what Jesus says at the Last Supper?
“Take this, all of you and drink from it. This is the cup of my Blood. The Blood of the NEW AND ETERNAL COVENANT.”
The TRUTH of the matter is that YES, this is a prophecy against the People of Israel
Those Jews who are in EXILE and NOT TURNING TO THE LORD
THEY LOST EVERYTHING BECAUSE THEY MADE IDOLS FOR THEMSELVES
THEY COMMITED IDOLATRY
THIS IS STILL US!!
Because HERE, in the FULLNESS OF TIME, Jesus has FULFILLED and said, “Here is the EVERLASTING COVENANT.”
AND NOW GOD’S HOLY MOUNTAIN IS A HOUSE OF PRAYER FOR ALL NATIONS!!
INCLUDING those of us who were NOT BORN JEWISH
WERE GRAFTED ONTO THE TREE BECAUSE OF JESUS CHRIST!!
THIS IS SUCH A GIFT!!
What an INCREDIBLE GIFT to go through Isaiah Chs 55 and 56 and Ezekiel Ch 16
To hear the words of the prophet to those being sent into EXILE
To hear the words of the prophet speaking to those who are IN EXILE
Because if we are NOT in exile YET, we are being SENT THERE
If we ARE in exile then we need that WORD OF HOPE
That WORD OF COMPASSION
THAT GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN US!!
SO WE NEED TO PRAY!!
PRAY FOR FR. MIKE
PRAY FOR EACH OTHER