Friday of Week 1 of Advent – First Reading

Commentary on Isaiah 29:17-24

Today’s Mass is about seeing. The First Reading gives promise of a future full of hope. The prophet presents God’s plan of redemption in terms of happenings that could hardly be hoped for under normal circumstances, such as the cedars of Lebanon becoming a source of fruit and the fruitful field becoming a forest.

But more striking still is that the deaf will be able to hear, and the blind will be able to emerge from their world of darkness and see. The meek, that is those who are without power or influence, will find fresh joy in the Lord, while the neediest will rejoice in their God.

On the other hand, the tyrant, the scoffer and the doer of evil will come to a sad end. Those especially mentioned are those who corrupt the administration of justice.

Abraham is proposed as a model to be followed. Just as he answered God’s call in faith and journeyed to a promised land he had never seen, so he becomes a model for those who return to Judah and Jerusalem from their period in exile. Abraham had been called out of a land of idolatry, and so it is with Jacob, that is, the descendants of Abraham of whom Isaiah now speaks (Jacob was also known as Israel).

If they have the spirit of Abraham,

…those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
and those who grumble will accept instruction.

Their eyes and their ears will have been opened.

Today is a day for us to be aware of our own blindness and our own deafness. Like the Israelites of Isaiah’s time, we have difficulty really hearing the Word of God and how many us can claim that we can see Jesus as he really is?

In our preparation for the celebration of Christmas, we must learn how to listen to God’s Word with understanding and acceptance, and learn how to see deeply into the meaning of his life as it is presented to us in Jesus.

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