By Fr. Alex Radulescu – One of today’s Scripture readings is taken from the Book of Isaiah 25:1-9:
“O Lord my God, I will glorify You; I will sing a hymn to Your name, for You have done wonderful things, an ancient and true counsel. So be it, O Lord. For You made cities into a mound; You made the foundations of their strong cities fall. The city of the ungodly shall not be built forever. Therefore the poor people will bless You, and the cities of wronged people will praise You. For You were a helper to every humbled city, and a protection to those who were disheartened by reason of poverty. You will deliver them from evil men, and be a shelter of the thirsty and a breath of life to the wronged. They will bless You as discouraged people, thirsting in Zion because of ungodly men to whom You delivered us. Then the Lord of hosts shall do this to all the nations on this mountain. They shall drink in gladness; they shall drink wine; they shall anoint themselves with ointment on this mountain. Deliver all these things to the nations, for this is the counsel for all the nations. Death prevailed and swallowed them, but again God wiped away every tear from every face; He took away the disgrace of His people from all the earth; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. Then it will be said in that day, “Behold, this is our God, in whom we hoped and rejoiced exceedingly; and we shall be glad in His salvation.”
To understand this section of the book, one needs to take into account Isaiah’s role as a prophet. Like many other prophets, Isaiah was delegated by God to warn the people of Israel to repent and live according to the precepts of their faith. Corruption, injustice, hypocrisy, spiritual depravity were rampant during this time. Even the religious leaders have departed from their mission. So, Isaiah not only warned his people about the incoming judgement of the Lord but also gave them hope that one day, God will bring justice and restore and establish His heavenly kingdom here, on earth by sending Christ, the Messiah (see chapter 53).
Please pay attention to some interesting details which seem obscure but have prophetic significance: “Then the Lord of hosts shall do this to all the nations on this mountain. They shall drink in gladness; they shall drink wine; they shall anoint themselves with ointment on this mountain” (v.6-7).
So, brothers and sisters, this is the message of Isaiah 25: in spite of the difficulties of this life, in spite of all the injustice in this world, in spite of all the hardships, tribulations, calamities, wars, sickness and all the tragedy of our current existence, we need to remember that God will not abandon us. He will heal this world in the end. He will reward those who stay faithful with an invitation to this heavenly banquet where Christ, the Bridegroom, is ready to receive with open arms all those who place their hope in Him.
Let us pray that God will give us the strength and the faith to face the current crisis we are in and all the difficulties of this life. Amen.