Scripture: Lectionary: 179. Thursday of first week of Advent. Isaiah 26:1-6. Psalm 118:1.8-9. 19-21.25-27. Matthew 7:21,24-27
Did you know that Isaiah is the prophet most often cited in the New Testament? He is especially found in the Birth of Jesus in Matthew’s famous citation of Isaiah 7:14: “The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call him Emmanuel: a name which means God is with us.” Also our psalm for today, Psalm 118, is most frequently cited among the Psalms in the New Testament. The verses that are focused upon in these citations is vv.22-23: “The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. By the Lord this has been done; it is wonderful to our eyes.”
Isaiah will be our faithful companion during the Advent season. He prepares us for praising God who is the All Holy One and also gives us the promise of God’s loving-fidelity. The Psalms also are helpful for our prayer life during this sacred season of waiting for the coming of the Lord.
The Gospels frequently change from one evangelist to the other, but are very helpful for the development of our faith in the healing power of God through his son Jesus Christ who in his first coming is born of Mary of Nazareth. Matthew cites Isaiah thirty-nine times in his Gospel! He does this especially in the Infancy Narrative and then in the Passion-Death and Resurrection of Jesus—his Paschal Mysteries.
Isaiah’s life as a prophet began in the Temple in Jerusalem where he had a magnificent experience of the Angel descending and cleansing his lips with a burning coal to prophesy. Isaiah was both a priest and a prophet who had great influence on several of the kings of Judah. He dedicated himself totally to God, prayed in the Temple, blessed Jerusalem (Zion) frequently and invited all nations to come and worship the Lord in the sacred city of David. We are easily led to pray as he did and to realize the God is with us in the person of Jesus who is our Emmanuel. Isaiah keeps the messianic promises alive in the scrolls he wrote. He continues to keep us aware of the loving-compassionate God who will send the Messiah. Jesus tells us that we enter God’s kingdom by doing God’s will.
Frequently we ask ourselves how do I know what is God’s will for me? We can pick up a lot of answers by just sitting down and reading the passages that are given to us during this holy season of Advent. When we read them we are listening to the divinely inspired words given to us from God through the Spirit, the prophets, and through Jesus. Oh, by the way, do not forget the psalms! Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.