As Christmas approaches, the passages from the Book of Isaiah might seem more familiar. Today's reading includes verses that we have all heard in Handel's Messiah. The Lord identifies Himself as the Creator of all, and He describes Himself in ways that Christ will be described.
This is the Lord Who led His people out of Egypt and into the Promised Land. Now, He promises to lead us out of the darkness of sin and into the light of the New Covenant.
Isaiah 48:12-21; 49:9b-13
Hearken to me, O Jacob, and thou Israel whom I call: I am he, I am the first, and I am the last. My hand also hath founded the earth, and my right hand hath measured the heavens: I shall call them, and they shall stand together.
Assemble yourselves together, all you, and hear: who among them hath declared these things? the Lord hath loved him, he will do his pleasure in Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans.
I, even I have spoken and called him: I have brought him, and his way is made prosperous. Come ye near unto me, and hear this: I have not spoken in secret from the beginning: from the time before it was done, I was there, and now the Lord God hath sent me, and his spirit.
Thus saith the Lord thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord thy God that teach thee profitable things, that govern thee in the way that thou walkest.
O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments: thy peace had been as a river, and thy justice as the waves of the sea, and thy seed had been as the sand, and the offspring of thy bowels like the gravel thereof: his name should not have perished, nor have been destroyed from before my face.
Come forth out of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, declare it with the voice of joy: make this to be heard, and speak it out even to the ends of the earth. Say: The Lord hath redeemed his servant Jacob. They thirsted not in the desert, when he led them out: he brought forth water out of the rock for them, and he clove the rock, and the waters gushed out.
They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in every plain. They shall not hunger, nor thirst, neither shall the heat nor the sun strike them: for he that is merciful to them, shall be their shepherd, and at the fountains of waters he shall give them drink. And I will make all my mountains a way, and my paths shall be exalted.
Behold these shall come from afar, and behold these from the north and from the sea, and these from the south country.
Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth, ye mountains, give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his poor ones.
- Source: Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible (in the public domain)