One can look at today’s Old Testament reading (Isaiah 49:1-6, found on the USCCB website with the other readings for today, and see it as a prophecy regarding Jesus: “You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory…I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” Jesus speaks of his glorification, and that of his Father, in the gospel reading from John 13. For centuries, Christians have interpreted the so-called Servant Songs of Isaiah to have their full meaning in Jesus. We had an excerpt from another Servant Song on Sunday (“The Lord has given me a well trained tongue…I gave my back to those who beat me…”) and we will hear from yet another on Good Friday (“Yet, it was our infirmities that he bore…though he was harshly treated…”). However, what if we saw today’s reading as being about us? How might that affect or even change how we view ourselves and our mission, our work here on earth?
In Psalm 139:13-14a, the psalmist says “You formed me in my inmost being, you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am wonderfully made…” We were made for great things, God’s things. And Isaiah said in today’s reading that God will show God’s glory through us, God’s servants. Fr. Jim, in his homily in Sunday’s Liturgy of the Word, told us that we are called to bring God’s light to others. How can we do that in these days of staying home and physical distancing? We can call others on the phone and check in on how they are doing. I talked with one of my older friends last week and learned that she has been calling others in our parish just to talk and to see how they are faring. We can “visit” with our loved ones in a safe way. For instance, on Sunday, I went for a walk (lots of fresh air and distance) on the rail trail in Holliston with my family. We had a great time talking and just being with each other; we hope to do the same on Easter. We can pray, not just for those we know, but for our whole world, praying that “God’s salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” There are lots of good organizations that need financial help right now, including our own Collaborative; making donations is certainly one way in which we can spread the light of God in our world. We can participate in the live-streamed and recorded services this Holy Week…and invite others to do so as well. Spread the word!
Here's a prayer by St. Augustine, set to music by Marty Haugen. It is called Watch, O Lord:
Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Jesus Christ; rest your weary ones; bless your dying ones;
soothe your suffering ones; pity your afflicted ones; shield your joyous ones; and all for your love's sake.