Wellspring of the Gospel


Year C: 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Isaiah 62: 1-5

The First Reading is one of many which reflects one of the themes brought out in today's Gospel reflection: that of God taking Israel as wife: God's delight, the Wedded.

At that time, marriage gave women security and an identity - and so, Israel as the bride of God would find her security and her identity in Him. The nation in exile - abandoned and forsaken will be brought back to her home by the God who created her.

This prophetic image was destined for the Jewish people exiled in Babylon - a catastrophic event in the history of the people. It seared itself deep into their psyche in a similar way to the way the Holocaust has in the memories of Jews and others caught up the attempted annihilation of peoples. These memories do not fade - but deepen over generations as their meanings are pondered and their truths spoken to people unborn at the time of their happening.
It is often people who hear these memories who can most clearly see their importance and implications in the story of humanity. Those enduring Exile or Holocaust are suffering too gravely for reflection - or even to believe in God's promises.

Many of those hearing Isaiah's words may have been tempted to see them as empty fantasies - had God not forsaken them? Others would have heard them and longed to believe them.

It was, however, given to later generations who had absorbed the stories of Exile and who knew God had brought His people home to bring those reflections - those deep folk memories into their encounters with Jesus. His words and actions resonated with images and words deep within them - he touched a chord - and the chord sang of faith: God had come to visit his people - here was the new and eternal bridegroom.

What does it mean for me?

Waterlily When have you had a period of stress or suffering during which you simply had to cope?

As you look back, how do your reflections help you to deepen your understanding of what was happening to you and where God was in it with you?

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