Tuesday of Week 1 of Lent – First Reading

Commentary on Isaiah 55:10-11

This short reading comes from the last chapter of the second part of Isaiah, known as Second Isaiah (chaps 40-55). It is also known as the ‘Book of Consolation’ because it speaks with hope and encouragement of the approaching end of the Jewish exile in Babylon, in contrast to earlier prophecies which rather emphasised the punishments which Israel had merited by her infidelities.

We are reminded that God has his plans for the world and they will not be frustrated. Those plans are not arbitrary. They are for the well-being of all creation. He is the loving Father to whom we pray with confidence, described in the Gospel reading about the Lord’s Prayer.

The prophet expresses these ideas in language that is truly poetic. The inevitability of God’s Word being realised is like that of the gentle rain that makes the earth fertile and fruitful, and so produces the seed that provides the bread on which we live:

…so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

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