A number of chapters in Isaiah are oracles against foreign nations (Isaiah 13:1-23:18). These include prophesies and oracles against Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Damascus, Ethiopia, Egypt, Cush, and Tyre. These nations have exalted themselves in the face of the Lord and, for their pride and arrogance, they will be brought down.
These prophecies and oracles prepare God’s judgment of the whole world in Isaiah 24. The prospect is bleak for those who have transgressed God’s law, violated God’s statutes and broken God’s covenant (Isaiah 25:5). The kings of the earth, Isaiah says, will be gathered into a pit and punished.
The Lord of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and will manifest his glory (Isaiah 24:21-23). Mount Zion is where God will set a feast for all peoples a feast and offer choice wine. Death will be swallowed up forever, every tear will be wiped away and the reproach of God’s people will be taken away. The people will say: “This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation” (Isaiah 24:6-9). On that day, the people will sing praise God.
Our first reading today is taken from that song of praise. The song praises God for protecting his people and leading the just along level paths. The people long for the Lord and seek him; hey cry out to him. The Lord hears the cry of his people and delivers them. The Lord will give life to those who have died; their bodies will rise. Salvation does not come from the world, but from God.
Deliverance from evil and the gift of divine life are also present in today’s Gospel. Jesus knows that we are burdened by sin and that we labor and struggle as we make our way to the Lord God. Just as Israel and Judah cried out to God and sought him, we too cry out to God and seek him.
The yoke of Christ is the Cross, an instrument of humiliation and an instrument of salvation. When we shoulder our daily cross, we learn the way of humility. We fall several times along the way, and each time we are able to get back up if we grasp the merciful hand of God. When we shoulder our daily cross, we learn the way of salvation. We understand the hideousness of sin and the power of grace. We see that sin only enslaves and that grace makes us free. Sin shackles us and makes us stumble along the way; life in Christ draws us along smooth and level paths to the Father.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org.