Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Isaiah 1:16-28 (Monday in the first week of Advent)


Reading 1: Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely,  Learn to do well: seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow: and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

Reading 2: If you be willing, and will hearken to me, you shall eat the good things of the land. But if you will not, and will provoke me to wrath: the sword shall devour you because the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. How is the faithful city, that was full of judgment, become a harlot? justice dwelt in it, but now murderers.  Thy silver is turned into dross: thy wine is mingled with water. Thy princes are faithless, companions of thieves: they all love bribes, the run after rewards. They judge not for the fatherless: and the widow' s cometh not in to them.

Reading 3: Therefore saith the Lord the God of hosts, the mighty one of Israel: Ah! I will comfort myself over my adversaries: and I will be revenged of my enemies. And I will turn my hand to thee, and I will clean purge away thy dress, and I will take away all thy tin.  And I will restore thy judges as they were before, and thy counsellors as of old. After this thou shalt be called the city of the just, a faithful city.  Sion shall be redeemed in judgment, and they shall bring her back in justice. And he shall destroy the wicked, and the sinners together: and they that have forsaken the Lord, shall be consumed.

Reflection

This passage paints a vivid picture of corruption in the Church, and its causes, namely leaders running after earthly acclaim rather than seeking God.

The remedy is clear and uncompromising: turn away from evil and do good, or be expelled from any hope of heaven.

And on the subject of law-givers and princes of the Church (though they mostly disdain that title these days),  The Catholic Thing has an interesting post well worth a read called The Silence of the Lions.  It poses the question of what would have happened if all the bishops, and not just one or two had stood firm at key points in history: if more had stood with St John Fisher against Henry VIII, or with Bishop von Galen against the Nazis for example.

We live in a world where secularism reigns, and many in the Church seem bent on a policy of appeasement rather than defence of truth.  Scripture and the Fathers offer many warnings about the consequences of such a policy, not least in these readings set for Advent, when we contemplate not just the first coming of Christ, but also his return in judgment.


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