Third Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 35: 1-6, 10
Sometimes. prophecy can be breathtakingly beautiful - and squashes the idea the prophets are unfailingly gloomy!
Today’s is such a prophecy - and little wonder that Jesus used it in His message back to John in the Gospel. He is sending a message that will bring strength - comfort and courage to this greatest of prophets. John will understand the true meaning of the healings of Jesus - he will recognise them as signs of the coming of the Kingdom.
Hundreds of years before, Isaiah had given the people in exile a vision of what the coming of God would be like:
Here is a promise of life in the city of God - everlasting joy and gladness.- sorrow and lament will be no more. This is a promise to hang onto - though it is a promise that calls for patience.
Like the people of Isaiah’s day - like those of John the Baptist day - we are people who are waiting for the fulfilment of this promise.
We long for a future where all is well - but can, if we look with the eyes of the prophets, find hints of the unfolding of the Kingdom even in the present moment.
We can also, like the prophets of old, tell people about this - offering them hope in the future...
In Baptism, we were anointed like Jesus - and part of that anointing was for prophecy - the ability to see the signs of the times and to understand them. Sometimes, we will have to speak out against injustice and evil - but sometimes, like Isaiah, we can draw people’s attention to the good and the beautiful - the power and the majesty of the coming of the Kingdom.
We can be people who wait in joyful hope - and help others to share that vision and expectation...
What does it mean for me?
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