Is 26:7-9, 12, 16-19 ; Ps 102:13-21; Mt 11:28-30
Even the pagan nations will revere the Name of The LORD. All the kings of the earth will bow down before the Glory of The LORD. When will these marvelous events happen? When the LORD has rebuilt Zion. When the LORD has regarded the prayer of the destitute, and not despised their prayer. The prayer of Psalm 102 is fulfilled in the incarnation, preaching, healing, exorcising, death, resurrection, ascension, exaltation, and Pentecost of the Lord Jesus Christ. In these saving events the Father has brought to birth a New Zion. He has heard the cries of the poor and responded with the full compassion of his divine love. Indeed, the Kingdom of God is among us, in our hearts and in our world because of the Church. The LORD looks down from heaven, from his glorious throne, and he is moved to pity for the living stones of his Church. He has been moved to tears even by her dust. With bonds of human love he draws all those who are lost and abandoned because of their own efforts to save themselves into his body, the Church. All who groaned in the prisons of their addictions and sin have been heard. All who were doomed to die from their compromise with vice and their surrender to temptation have been released. This is the very glimpse of glory that Isaiah saw after the failure and exile of Israel who gave birth to wind, after they had not achieved their own salvation. This is the promise of Christ, the meek and humble of heart; this is the promise fulfilled in his call to us, “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest”. In our Eucharist today this summons enables us to come forth and find our true identity in the Body and Blood of Christ. We are what we eat!
The Prophet Isaiah knew that the mercies of the LORD are new, every morning. The greatest desire of his soul was the Name and the Title of The LORD. With him and with every generation of believers we too yearn for God in the night, yet, within us our spirits keep vigil for the LORD. When his judgment dawns upon the earth, the New Day dawns. The true light from light shines through the darkness of despair and depression and we live and move and have our being in His Light. Indeed, the LORD himself metes out peace to us, for it is the LORD who has accomplished all we have done. Salvation is a gift. It is the very self-gift of God to his beloved children. The very children who have rebelled and gone into exile are oppressed by the punishment well deserved. With our exiled ancestors we have cried out in anguish under his chastising. Every human effort to save ourselves has only brought us into greater pain, like a woman writhing in pain we have given birth to wind. Our own salvation we have not achieved for the earth. Indeed, the world cannot bring it forth. All who have died in sin and arrogance will rise, awake and sing. Those who lie in the dust of defeat will declare the glory of God and his power to save. For the dew of the Lord Christ is the dew of Light Eternal, and the lands of shades gives birth through the Cross of Christ. The seer Isaiah caught a glimpse of this glory and in his prophesy we find boundless joy and hope. Gaudium et spes for all who share the beauty and struggle of our common humanity.
In the vigils of the night, the Church recalls the words of the Psalm, “So I swore in my anger, ‘They shall not enter into my rest.’” Indeed, like our forefathers we too have tested the LORD and made demands of our God. We have joined those who floundered in the desert and wondered who is this LORD who has brought us into this dry and deadly place. Has he brought us here to die? Were we not better off in Egypt, that land of slavery? Such are the thoughts of the desperate and the despairing. We, too, anger the LORD whom we so readily test and question at every turn. We are all too ready to question the ways of God. We cannot understand the mystery of suffering in the midst of God’s saving deeds. The LORD looks down from heaven and is moved with pity. It is his divine compassion that moves the LORD to save us through his only begotten Son, Jesus the Christ. The Lord Jesus freely enters into our history into our lives filled with suffering and ignorance. He comes to join us and invites us to come to him in the midst of our labors and burdens. The Lord Jesus invites us to take his yoke upon us and learn from him, for he is meek and humble of heart. What do we learn? We learn the wisdom of the cross. We learn that even unjust suffering gives birth to virtue and strength. We learn that suffering endured in love is redemptive. Suffering is not meaningless. It is a share in the very nature of God, who pours himself out and lays down his life so that we might live forever. Indeed the yoke of Christ is easy and the burden of his cross is light. It is easy and light only because he is with us and shares with us. Indeed, by his wounds we are healed. Like the water that mingles with the wine at every Eucharist our everyday suffering becomes sweet when mingled with His Blood.