Wednesday of Week 2 of Advent – First Reading

Commentary on Isaiah 40:25-31

We continue our reading from the ‘Book of Consolation’ or ‘Second Isaiah’. Does God seem far away at times? Today’s reading invites us to go out some clear night and look at the skies. Thousands of stars, each one a mighty sun, can be seen and they are only a tiny fraction of the billions of stars in our universe. Imagine the greatness of the God who is creator and master of all these and who calls each single one by name!

However, far away from home and living in bitter exile, God’s people wonder if their God has forgotten about them. They seem to be comparing their God with the gods of their captors; their God is letting them down.

The people cry out, in pain questioning:

My way is hidden from the Lord,
and my right is disregarded by my God?

Yet God is fully aware of his people’s situation and he will soon show his love and power as they return to their homeland:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint
and strengthens the powerless.

Even young people, with all their energy, can run out of steam:

…and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted…

But not those who wait for the Lord:

…for the Lord shall renew their strength [and]
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.

The reading is a message for all those who feel that life is working against them. Some can sympathise with the words of the song:

Into every life a little rain must fall but too much is falling in mine…

It must certainly have been the feeling of the Israelites as they languished far from home in a hostile and cruel land. And yet, their deliverance is very close.

The coming of Jesus for which we are now preparing makes the same promise and offers the same invitation in today’s Gospel:

Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Jesus reaffirms what Isaiah says, that we have a caring and tireless God who takes care of his own when he says:

I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Jesus does not promise painlessness, does not promise to take away every yoke, but he will share the burden with us.

What Jesus does is to help us go through the pain, because he knows what we go through. He experienced a level of pain in his own life which we are not likely ever to have to face.

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