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Holy Week: Isaiah and Christ
Wordonfire ^ | March 25, 2013 | Fr. Robert Barron

Posted on 03/25/2013 3:55:11 PM PDT by NYer

 Today, the Monday of Holy Week, Father Steve Grunow shares his sermon about Isaiah, Christ, and the many complexities to a story that ultimately serve to simplify, redeem and illuminate.

Our first reading for today is an excerpt from the Old Testament Book of the Prophet Isaiah. In this text, the prophet reveals a mysterious figure, which he names as the servant of the Lord. The servant of the Lord has been chosen by the God of Israel for a particular mission.
The mission of this servant is the restoration of Israel. The prophet Isaiah speaks the word of the Lord from the midst of distressing and painful circumstances. The once-mighty Kingdom of David has fallen into ruin and its past glory has retreated into memory. The fall of David's Kingdom has left Israel vulnerable to the powers of the world that have seized their lands, destroyed their cities, desecrated their holy places and reduced Israel to the status of a slave.  It is to this Israel, seemingly forsaken, that the servant of the Lord will come.
The Church understands Isaiah's vision of the servant of the Lord as a foreshadowing of Christ.
As one reads further in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah one discerns that the servant of the Lord will effect the restoration of David's Kingdom through his suffering and through his willingness to accept this suffering as a mission that comes from God, he will offer Israel forgiveness and hope.
That the servant of the Lord would suffer confounded many in Israel and still seems strange to us today. Humanity has tendency to read service to the Lord as by necessity resulting in material blessings. In this construel of Biblical revelation, the commitment to serve the Lord should result in deliverance from the hard facts of life and result in a life that is by all measure successful.

The tendency to equate service to the Lord with a life of good fortune represents a distortion of the totality of the bibilical vision as it is viewed through the lens of Christ. God in Christ reveals that his purposes are not accomplished through an exemption from reality, but in a passage through it. This is on evident display in Christ, who accepts the reality of the human condition as his own, and by entering into the fullness of human experience, he effects its transformation. Christ does not exempt himself from suffering and death, but in his passage into both, he transforms each forever. So it will be for us as well!
The Gospel of John sets a magnificent scene before us today.
It is in the house of Lazarus, the brother of Martha and Mary, that the Lord Jesus is annointed with the costliest of aromatic perfumes. This gesture is met with the protest and condemnation of Judas Iscariot.
Today's Gospel is often used by Christians to justify the manner in which they lavish gifts upon the Lord, usually in expressions of art and worship. The Church's use of its resources to serve Christ in the poor are complemented by efforts to represent Christ in works of beauty and creativity. The words of Christ in this text are used to support both service to the poor works of mercy and service to the Lord through works of culture. In both ways the mandate of Christ is fulfilled.
However, there is more to this text than a clarification in regards to the management of the Church's resources and the allocation of funds.
In this Gospel passage, the Lord Jesus is annointed, a sign of his Messianic identity and mission.  Like David and the kings that followed him, Christ is annointed, which is a sign that he, like Israel's kings, has been set apart in terms of who he is and what he will do. The reference the Lord makes that connects his annointing to his burial is a foreshadowing of where his mission as Messiah will take him.  The kind of Messiah he will be is revealed in the manner of his death.
During Holy Week, the Church invites the faithful to an ever deeper consideration of Christ's suffering and death. This invitation is not intended simply to garner sympathy for Christ in his passion, but to show us the kind of God and king that he reveals himself to be. The revelation of Christ as suffering servant and crucified God is troubling for us to see and many would rather just look away or diminish the blow with sentiment. Yet, the Church insists that the full meaning and importance of the identity and mission of Christ the Lord can only be discerned from the vantage point of one who is willing to look upon his cross.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Theology
KEYWORDS: bible; christ; isaiah; scripture

1 posted on 03/25/2013 3:55:11 PM PDT by NYer
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To: netmilsmom; thefrankbaum; Tax-chick; GregB; saradippity; Berlin_Freeper; Litany; SumProVita; ...


2 posted on 03/25/2013 3:55:38 PM PDT by NYer (Beware the man of a single book - St. Thomas Aquinas)
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To: NYer

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we hear the Suffering Servant Songs of Isaiah. So prophetic and beautiful, yet painful to hear and meditate on.

3 posted on 03/25/2013 4:54:50 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
Monday's First Reading:

Reading 1 Is 42:1-7

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coastlands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

4 posted on 03/25/2013 4:57:11 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
Holy Week: Isaiah and Christ
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5 posted on 03/25/2013 5:02:20 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
The Second Servant Song from Isaiah:

Reading 1 Is 49:1-6

Hear me, O islands,
listen, O distant peoples.
The LORD called me from birth,
from my mother’s womb he gave me my name.
He made of me a sharp-edged sword
and concealed me in the shadow of his arm.
He made me a polished arrow,
in his quiver he hid me.
You are my servant, he said to me,
Israel, through whom I show my glory.

Though I thought I had toiled in vain,
and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength,
Yet my reward is with the LORD,
my recompense is with my God.
For now the LORD has spoken
who formed me as his servant from the womb,
That Jacob may be brought back to him
and Israel gathered to him;
And I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD,
and my God is now my strength!
It is too little, he says, for you to be my servant,
to raise up the tribes of Jacob,
and restore the survivors of Israel;
I will make you a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.

6 posted on 03/26/2013 5:47:19 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
Third Servant Song of Isaiah:

Reading 1 Is 50:4-9a

The Lord GOD has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse them.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard;
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting.

The Lord GOD is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord GOD is my help;
who will prove me wrong?

7 posted on 03/27/2013 9:22:52 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: NYer
The Fourth Suffering Servant Song of Isaiah:

Reading 1 Is 52:13—53:12

See, my servant shall prosper,
he shall be raised high and greatly exalted.
Even as many were amazed at him—
so marred was his look beyond human semblance
and his appearance beyond that of the sons of man—
so shall he startle many nations,
because of him kings shall stand speechless;
for those who have not been told shall see,
those who have not heard shall ponder it.

Who would believe what we have heard?
To whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?
He grew up like a sapling before him,
like a shoot from the parched earth;
there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him,
nor appearance that would attract us to him.
He was spurned and avoided by people,
a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity,
one of those from whom people hide their faces,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our infirmities that he bore,
our sufferings that he endured,
while we thought of him as stricken,
as one smitten by God and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our offenses,
crushed for our sins;
upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole,
by his stripes we were healed.
We had all gone astray like sheep,
each following his own way;
but the LORD laid upon him
the guilt of us all.

Though he was harshly treated, he submitted
and opened not his mouth;
like a lamb led to the slaughter
or a sheep before the shearers,
he was silent and opened not his mouth.
Oppressed and condemned, he was taken away,
and who would have thought any more of his destiny?
When he was cut off from the land of the living,
and smitten for the sin of his people,
a grave was assigned him among the wicked
and a burial place with evildoers,
though he had done no wrong
nor spoken any falsehood.
But the LORD was pleased
to crush him in infirmity.

If he gives his life as an offering for sin,
he shall see his descendants in a long life,
and the will of the LORD shall be accomplished through him.

Because of his affliction
he shall see the light in fullness of days;
through his suffering, my servant shall justify many,
and their guilt he shall bear.
Therefore I will give him his portion among the great,
and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,
because he surrendered himself to death
and was counted among the wicked;
and he shall take away the sins of many,
and win pardon for their offenses.

8 posted on 03/30/2013 3:55:22 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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