Oh, that troublesome figure in salvation history, the prophet Isaiah! Today he reaches into the selfishness that resides inside all of us, exposing it to the light where … well, let’s just agree that it doesn’t look so good:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
What can we think of this reminder that God is merciful, but also just? Isaiah reveals that those who need mercy must show mercy, those who are oppressed or are in need must help others to be relieved of burdens. Only then will God come to our aid in times of distress.
Make us servants of one another, God of righteousness and mercy!