Our first scripture returns us to the book of the Old Testament prophet, Isaiah.
We have been attentive to many excerpts from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah in these days and weeks of Advent. Isaiah foresaw the coming of Christ in visions and in dreams, and Christ is the way by which we are to understand the ultimate meaning Isaiah’s prophecies, indeed of all prophecy. Without reference to Christ the writings of the prophets are merely artifacts from a history lost to us long ago, but when read in the light of Christ, the darkness of the past dissipates and we see a divine revelation!
The prophet Isaiah confronts Ahaz, one of the most wicked of the kings of the Israelites. Enamored of wealth, pleasure, power and honors, he raised the attainment of these things to gods. He conspired with the enemies of the Israelites, and in doing so, betrayed his own people. The prophet Isaiah testifies that God has had enough of Ahaz and will now act to remove him as king. A new king will come, and the sign of his coming will be the revelation of a virgin pregnant with a child, and this sign will indicate the coming of a new king.
The Israelites came to understand that what the prophet Isaiah foresaw was more than just a successor to King Ahaz, but the coming into the world of someone much greater- the Messiah. Who is the Messiah? The Messiah is a person of extraordinary power who would set right a world that has been corrupted by people like Ahaz- people for whom wealth is a god, power is a game, honors a goal to be attained at all costs, and pleasure a right that has no limit in morality and decency.
The Israelites, disappointed time and time again by corrupt and idolatrous rulers, longed for the revelation of the Messiah. After so many failed and disappointing rulers, the Israelites longed for God to come and to set things right.
The Gospel of Luke presents the mysterious sign of the virgin with child as being revealed in Christ’s mother, pregnant by the power of God, and bearing into the world the promised Messiah. Christ the Lord is the one who has the power to set a world gone right, and to rescue a people languishing under the power of men and women like King Ahaz, whose gods are wealth, pleasure, power and honors.
Isaiah dreamed of a vision of a virgin with child who would be our Savior. In the Blessed Virgin Mary, pregnant with the Divine Christ, that dream becomes reality and that vision becomes as real as human flesh.
In this last days of Advent, the Church reminds us of who the Lord Jesus really and truly is- he is the fulfillment of ancient prophecy, the promised Messiah.
But even more than this, he is the living source of all prophecy itself for he is the one, living and true God. In Christ the Lord we see the startling revelation that God makes himself our Messiah. This means that God in Christ accepts a human nature, and it is through this revelation that he acts to liberate us from the power of sin and death and the devil. God acts in Christ to banish the false gods that oppress us. God acts in Christ to deliver us from the corruptions of wicked rulers like Ahaz and invite us into a new way of life.
Christ comes into this world, indeed, into our lives as a Savior, and we truly do need him! But do we want him? If we do, then our lives will inevitably change.
It is precisely in our acceptance of a life changed by Jesus Christ that God acts to set not only us, but a world gone wrong right.