2nd Week of Advent
First Reading: Isaiah 41:13–20
Gospel: Matthew 11:11–15
13 For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”
14 Fear not, you worm Jacob,
you men of Israel!
I am the one who helps you, declares the Lord;
your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I make of you a threshing sledge,
new, sharp, and having teeth;
you shall thresh the mountains and crush them,
and you shall make the hills like chaff;
16 you shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away,
and the tempest shall scatter them.
And you shall rejoice in the Lord;
in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory.
17 When the poor and needy seek water,
and there is none,
and their tongue is parched with thirst,
I the Lord will answer them;
I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights,
and fountains in the midst of the valleys.
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar,
the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive.
I will set in the desert the cypress,
the plane and the pine together,
20 that they may see and know,
may consider and understand together,
that the hand of the Lord has done this,
the Holy One of Israel has created it.
11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.
13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John,
14 and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come.
15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Every now and then I hear folks quote that last line of the Gospel reading while making a point about how important prayer is and while I absolutely agree I also think there’s more to it. Reading through Isaiah 41 we see God saying “I will…” quite a few times. “I will open rivers…I will put in the wilderness the cedar…” God not only shares with us what He’s doing, but He makes promises to us. As we read in verse 14 He says “I am the one who helps you”. In my mind I read that as “I AM, The One who helps you”. God IS what He does. He helps because He IS help. He cures because He IS the remedy. He makes promises with us because He IS our promise.
Let’s revisit verse 17:
When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them.
Now in Isaiah 12:3 we read:
Therefore you will joyously draw water From the springs of salvation.
Further, in Revelation 22:1–2
Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Finally, in John 4:14 Jesus says:
but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.
Let those who have ears to hear not only a call to prayer, but all the rich promises our Father lavishes upon us. He is our help in times of need; He is the wellspring of Salvation from which we may drink and spend eternity in paradise; He is also the water that flows forth from the spring, renewing all who partake.
God is Goodness, and all His promises are good.