“[My word] shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.”

For the Old Testament passage today we go back to the prophet Isaiah (55:10-11) for a very short but very powerful excerpt.  God created nature giving us water and harvests to sustain us physically.  So also He gives us His word to sustain us spiritually.

Quite naturally we are reminded immediately of Christ, the Word (Jn 1); we will get back to that momentarily.  But we should also look backward to the very beginning of the Bible, that is, creation.  I am struck by the word “void” used here.  Douay-Rheims translates the beginning of Genesis 1:2 as “the earth was void and empty.”  Then what comes in verse three?  The “word”: Let there be light! Surely this word did God’s will and did not return empty — rather it filled an empty space.  Pertaining particularly to this reading, day three of the creation story is when the word goes out to pool the water, thus creating dry land, and seed-bearing plants come into existence.  All six days of creation show God’s word is made effective in Him saying it, turning chaos into order, formlessness into beauty.  It is clear that the prophet wishes to strongly evoke God’s creative ability here.

Just as this word brought light into the world, so then did the Word of God become the Light of the world in His incarnation (see Jn 8:12).  The Second Person of the Trinity was sent by the Father into space and time for a reason.  He fulfilled His call perfectly and thus, far from returning to His Father with nothing, won all humanity for Him through His perfect obedience, living and dying to reconcile divinity and humanity.  The Redeemer unwavering followed the Creator’s will and achieved the end for which He was sent.  Just as on the first day of creation, that first Sunday, the Word conquered darkness, so on that first Easter Sunday, the Word conquered the darkness of sin, Satan, and death.

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