Speak Lord: restore hope in us

Nowa HutaThe first reading at Mass today, the 23rd Sunday in Ordinary Time comes from the prophet Isaiah.

Its prophecy of healing and hope prepares us for the healing of the man described in Mark’s Gospel. It of course also alerts us to the offer of healing and hope for us and all humankind.

Say to all faint hearts,
‘Courage! Do not be afraid.
Look, your God is coming,
vengeance is coming,
the retribution of God;
he is coming to save you.’

Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
the ears of the deaf unsealed,
then the lame shall leap like a deer
and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy;
for water gushes in the desert,
streams in the wasteland,
the scorched earth becomes a lake,
the parched land springs of water.

Isaiah 35:4-7

The image above comes from the church of Nowa Huta. Nowa Huta was designed as a town for atheistic communists, and built on the outskirts of Cracow, Poland. Trouble was the good workers who settled there were not so atheisitic as they might have been and the need for a church quickly presented itself. Something of the story of what followed can be read here.

The image above shows in the lower level a frieze of Poland’s history, and above a window depicting God’s promise of protection.

Poland, like much of central and Eastern Europe, has suffered greatly from oppression and occupation. Like the Israel of Jesus time. Like us, perhaps, under influence of the forces and powers of our time, no longer so true to ourselves and our purpose: freedom,health and holiness somewhat beyond our reach.

Today’s Gospel and this first reading offer encouragement. God is with us. Healing and hope are at hand.

  • In prayer let us know our need and ask for help.

West wall, Nowa Huta. (c), 2013, Allen Morris.

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