‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’
Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.
First Reading for the Second Sunday Of Advent.
The message is indeed joyful. Freedom and wholeness, liberation and mercy is offered to those who have known punishment and confinement, frustration and misery.
The Lord orders the prophet to offer this goodness, because it is for the betterment of his people.
Though our baptism we share in the prophetic ministry of Christ and his Church. We too are called to be ministers of consolation in the world, missionary disciples who do not only talk to each other, but go further to those others who are also part of God’s people.
The message is joyful, but sometimes the intended messengers are hesitant or even refuse.
- On a scale of 1-10 with 10 highest, where would you place yourself on the scale. And why would you find yourself at that point?
- Where would you put your parish in its response to the call of the Lord?
Photograph: At a caravanserai, east of Konya, Turkey. (c) 2014, Allen Morris.