Fourth Sunday of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 7: 10-14
The Reading today recalls the prophecy of Isaiah that is quoted in the Gospel - that a maiden would become pregnant and that the child she bore would be called “Immanuel” - God-is-with-us.
Obviously, Jesus was not called Immanuel (or Emmanuel as it is sometimes spelt) - but He could have been - for He is God with us - the Word made flesh - the One promised for generations.
Throughout the writings of the prophets, there is a constant referral back to the promises of God to save His people. The prophets constantly refer to the signs - even when, like Ahaz, people would prefer not to see them. His desire “not to put the Lord to the test” had more to do with not wanting to see a sign than a genuine humility in the face of God. He and his people were under attack and were paralysed with fear. The last thing they wanted was to be forced to act by some divine signal!
Isaiah sees through the pretence - and says that whether Ahaz wants it or not, God is going to give a sign. In fact, it was probably a sign for his own times - that the things predicted will happen before a child presently in the womb has come to maturity.
However, prophecy often touches on deeper truths - and so, we remember this one as looking towards the birth of another child - the Christ - Jesus.
What does it mean for me?
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