December 10, 2015

Isaiah Variations


It's fascinating how the Church seeks to console us. For example, the first reading from Isaiah 30 the other day is textbook Christ:

    “The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.”

But other translations are less, shall we say, generous, from the Jerusalem's “The Lord has given you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction.”  Knox has it: “Bread he will grant, though it be sparingly.”

So it's kind of a buzzkill to go to the other translations although the Church's generous translation I take as more definitive given the prerogatives she enjoys.

And Pope Benedict gave me permission tonight when I read this in his Blessings of Christmas:
Perhaps the right way to celebrate Advent is to let the signs of God’s love that we receive in this period penetrate our soul, without resistance, without questions and quibbling. Warmed by these signs, we can then receive in full confidence the immeasurable kindness of this child who alone had the power to make the mountains sing and to transform the trees of the wood into a praise of God.
(The preface to that was this:
It may be difficult for us to accept this joyful music when we are tormented by questions, when we are afflicted both by bodily illness and psychological problems, and these would tend to make us rebel against the God whom we cannot understand. But this child is a sign of hope precisely for those who are oppressed. And this is why he has awakened an echo so pure that its consoling power can touch the hearts even of unbelievers.)
I've come to see Isaiah as a primer for Jesus - it seems like it's what he read and memorized and understood to apply to him. Thus when the prophet says: “he will hear and immediately answer”, Jesus took that as gospel, such that when he heard someone crying out to him (the lame, the sick, the blind) he should immediately cure them.

It's always interesting to me to turn the Scriptures around and see them as God condescending to us to have them apply to him as well. It's more of a “we're all in this together” type of feeling.

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