In our first reading today, it is clear someone is brimming with excitement, and has a vision of the amazing redemption God wills for the wayward. Speaking to the exiles, Isaiah experienced in his heart the love God had for His people. He could foresee the return to the land, new hope and promise for the people, God’s offer of redemption. When the Maccabees ousted the Greek ruler Antiochus, with his hated efforts to destroy Judaism, it is likely someone used this same message to herald the restoration of home rule, and of the faith. John the Baptist was another ‘voice crying out in the desert’, bringing hope to the people who went out to hear his message. But it doesn’t end there. This is an excellent passage for lectors to bring to prayer. Comfort, give comfort to my people … cry out at the top of your voice … say… Here is your God. Not a lector? Think you are off the hook? Not in this Year of Mercy! (Not ever!) One of the spiritual works of mercy is to comfort the afflicted. How can I bring comfort to someone who is afflicted this week? How can you?

Monday, January 11, 2016