The first reading today is a companion piece with yesterday’s first reading. The message of encouragement remains even as the prophet who speaks the word changes. A verse from the Gospel succinctly makes the point: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
From the very beginning in Genesis, the creative energies of God have created the world for mankind, created humankind “in our image” – that curious phrase we understand as the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit – the divine family. Even until now God is at work sustaining the world in existence.
In the meantime, humankind has had its ups and downs….to put it mildly – yet all the while the Father is at work until now working to build a family, a covenant people, a people of faith. The prophet Isaiah gave the word to a people beset with self-inflicted calamity:
In a time of favor I answer you, on the day of salvation I help you; and I have kept you and given you as a covenant to the people, to restore the land and allot the desolate heritages, saying to the prisoners: Come out! To those in darkness: Show yourselves! (Is 49:8-9)
In one sense the story of God and His creation is a story of rescue after rescue. God saved Noah and his family, kept safe Abraham and Sarah, liberated the promised people from slavery in Egypt, and gave them a land of their own. All the while, the covenant people had its ups and downs – especially the exile in Babylon; just the current calamity faced by these unruly and hard-hearted people.
Yesterday, Ezekiel received a vision and spoke to the people about the promise of rescue and restoration. Isaiah offers the same basic message. And the people were returned to Jerusalem and the Holy Land, the Temple was built, and the covenant people had its ups and downs. Then and in the time of Jesus and in our time also. The prophets and Jesus remind us of the words of today’s psalm: “The LORD is faithful in all his words and holy in all his works. The LORD lifts up all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.” That divine work never ends and has no limits. It is why Jesus can say: “My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.”
Father, Son and Holy Spirit will always do the “heavy lifting.” Our part? It is as we said on the first day of Lent: Repent and believe in the Gospel.
The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Image credit: The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel, Public Domain