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...