Isaiah is more than a prophet. He is a priest and a prince connected to the King of Judah and Israel. We learn of this through reading his scroll or Isaiah chapters 1-39. He mentions the kings who were addressed by his prophecies. Today he speaks God’s message telling us not to lose heart in our waiting for the coming of the Messiah. Even when things go awry, God is there to help us. We see how nature is easily turned around by the power of God to work for the good, the common good of God’s people. Streams appear in the desert, all sorts
of trees grow in the Land, and virtues can grow in our souls during this time of waiting and trusting in the power of God’s word to produce miracles. God speaks to us directly through Isaiah saying, “It is I who say to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’”
We are buoyed up the Psalm confirming that we will be helped because God is who God is: “The Lord is kind and merciful; slow to anger, and rich in compassion.”
We have seen that Isaiah and John the Baptist and Mary are very much in the forefront of this season of Advent. The Baptist fulfills some of the prophetic words of Isaiah by preparing the way for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus does come and in the excerpt from Matthew for today, we hear Jesus saying that John is the greatest born of woman.
He also startles us by saying, “Yet, the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” The saints and the angels are with God in the kingdom. They support us in our efforts to be similar to John in his witness and to their lives in their examples of how to live in the presence of God. The teaching of the Church about the Communion of Saints is in our Creeds and it is one of the most consoling teaching that we have from the Church. We are not alone as we realize when we study the saints. Not a day goes by in which there is not a saint who
is one the calendar of those who are in the kingdom. John the Baptist and Isaiah are among them!
Jesus praises John. He already influenced him from the time Mary and Elizabeth met and shared the joy of their pregnancies. The child leapt in his mother’s womb for joy in the presence of the Lord hidden in Mary’s womb. What a beautiful and inspirational scene this is for us, the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin to Saint Elizabeth. From that moment on, the Baptist was being prepared for his great role in salvation history (see Luke 16:16). He would be a new Elijah who would welcome the Messiah into the salvation history of all humankind.
We all can learn much from the person of John the Baptist and from all the saints since his time who are now interceding for us in heaven. At the same time he inspires us now to be patient and wait for the Lord. Amen.
Copyright 2012 Fr. Bertrand Buby, S.M.