Monday in the Third Week of Advent, Year B
14 December 2020
Reading: Isaiah 61: 1-4, 8-11
Scripture: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour…” (Isaiah 61:1-2)
Reflection: At the start of this third week of Advent, we read again, the words of the prophet Isaiah as he kept hope alive in the hearts of the oppressed people of Israel , with a prophetic promise that God would bring justice, healing and salvation. In their many years of wandering in the desert, the Israelites had experienced severe challenges brought about by their lack of trust in God and their disobedience. Their response alternated between crying out to God for deliverance, sliding into worship of false gods and hopelessness. Their temple had been demolished and their cities destroyed; generations spent years in captivity and with the passage of time, many had given up hope that they would ever see their homeland, Israel again. And so, when Isaiah began to proclaim God’s word, they were receptive to the words of comfort in his message that he had been sent to “bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners…” He was reminding them that God would provide for and protect them.
Isaiah was sharing the promise of the joyful freedom of God’s reign and life in His kingdom where justice reigns, prisoners are set free, captives are liberated, the weak, the poor and the voiceless are strengthened, and the broken-hearted are comforted. Those who persevered in their belief in God would find what they were seeking in Him and experience justice and forgiveness, freedom and redemption and rejoice with joy.
These words resonate with us today, just as much as they did with the exiled Israelites who were returning to Jerusalem and must have done with the people of Nazareth who, centuries later, heard Jesus say, “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 16 – 19). In Isaiah’s prophecy was Jesus’ Mission statement, His life’s purpose.
What does this “good news” mean for us in today’s world? God has seen the suffering of His people as we struggle to cope with the dislocation and death caused by the pandemic; He grieves for us who live in a world where corruption is rife, and must grapple with the effects of greed, violence, inequality and prejudice and wrestle with those who seek to destroy His creation. The “good news” is that we too can take comfort in Isaiah’s prophecy; in the promise that God will provide for and protect those of us who maintain a personal relationship with him, our Creator.
But, we must not keep this good news to ourselves. God is claiming us as His own and holding us up as a people whom the Lord has blessed so that others might see in us His saving grace and the promise of abundant life and want to experience that for themselves. Each of us must therefore use the talents which He has given us to reach out to new people and to work to make the change we all hope for, become a reality.
So, in this season of Advent, let us commit to reach new people of all ages, no matter their circumstance and pray that God will send us one person or one child, or one family, to love and to share with them the joy that we have such an avenue to salvation and the friend we have in Jesus.
Reflection: The good news invites us out of the darkness and into the light, surrendering to God’s plan and connecting us to the source our souls thirst for.
Prayer: Thank You Father for the gift that is Your Son. Thank You for sacrificing Him for us, to save us from the punishment and the weight of our sins. Amen.
St. Jude’s Church
Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas 2020
by The St. Jude’s Writers