Today’s scripture passage from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, hearkens to a time of catastrophe when it seemed to the Israelites that God had abandoned his people. The once mighty Kingdom of David was in utter decline and the Israelites were threatened from within by corrupting political, economic and cultural forces that served wealth, pleasure, power and honors and from without by aggressive foreign powers that wanted the lands of the Israelites to be absorbed into their empires.
Things were dark and were going to get even darker.
Isaiah the prophet offers words of reassurance, announcing that God had not abandoned his people and though for a time the Israelites would suffer, the day of their restoration would come and that God himself would come to their rescue.
The theme of desolation and restoration is prevalent throughout the scriptures proclaimed during the season of Advent. The fear that God has abandoned us, the afflictions of political, economic, and cultural turmoil are not merely experiences of the past, but endure even in the present. Dark powers continue to cast shadows and the cries for God to deliver us are as loud now as they were in the days of the prophet Isaiah.
In the midst of all the fear, affliction and darkness of the current moment, the Church bears into the world the consolation of Isaiah, reminding the world, that God has not only come, but he is here, in Christ and he comes to us to restore, to rescue and to heal.
Christ acts through the Church to do these things and in our fulfillment of this mission the vision of the Prophet Isaiah becomes more than just eloquent testimony, but living, real, and true.
In his Gospel, Christ the Lord summons the Twelve, his apostles, who will become the progenitors of the New Israel, which is the Church.
The Twelve Apostles act in the world as Christ acted (the Apostles do what Christ did), their mission is not self-directed, but it is given to them by Christ. They do not decide what their mission is to be, but they receive their mission from Christ.
So it is must be for all disciples. Our mission is not whatever it is we want it to be, but our mission is to do what Christ asks us to do. The Church is his Kingdom and he (Christ), not we, is the true and only King.