Monday’s first reading, again from Isaiah (4:2-6), is a very short chapter with a very hopeful message after Jerusalem is warned in the previous chapter of impending calamity. The passage for the day culminates in the consoling words above after the Lord reiterates news of the devastating judgment He is to bring about on Jerusalem for its unfaithfulness.
We should strive every day to increase our trust that the Lord is our “shelter and protection.” Any good parent, at the very least, wants his children to have a home and to be safe. Our good God is able to effect this perfectly. In this reading, we are reminded of God’s care for His people after the Exodus. It served as a reminder to the people of Isaiah’s time, as it should us today, that the Lord is never far away from those who are faithful to Him (even when they are less than faithful).
But this reading also looks forward to God’s greatest work: our redemption. It begins this way:
The branch of the LORD will be luster and glory,
and the fruit of the earth will be honor and splendor…
From the Navarre Bible:
‘Isaiah speaks of this fruit [“fruit of your womb” in Lk 1:42] when he says: In that day…the fruit of the land shall be the pride and the glory of the survivors of Israel. What can this fruit be, if not the Holy One of Israel, who is at the same time the seed of Abraham, the shoot of the Lord, the flower that springs from the root of Jesse, the life-giving fruit of which we all partake?’ (Baldwin of Canterbury, De salutatione angelica).
Let us not neglect to partake of the life-giving Jesus in Holy Communion and prepare well for this coming to us daily and at Christmas through prayer and Confession.