HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 3RD WEEK OF ADVENT.
THEME: GOD CAN RESTORE YOU.
BY: Fr. Karabari Paul.
Like a wife forsaken, the Lord has called you.
In the First Reading (Isaiah 54:1-10) which is placed during Israel’s exile in Babylon, God actually referred to Israel as the barren woman. For all intent and purposes, Israel essentially was like a barren woman because Jerusalem and all Israel had been completely destroyed during the war and the people were put into captivity and carried off as slaves. The people of Israel thought that when they were carried off into exile, God was done with them and the precious covenant that had bound the two together had been broken, null and voided. They thought it was as if God said to them, “You are dead to me,” and he was cutting them off never to speak with them again.
Not only was exile itself making them like a barren woman, but they were actually becoming barren. Not because they were not having kids, they were, but their children were growing up in Babylonia, under Babylonia rules and culture and were becoming more and more like the Babylonians and less and less like the Israelites. Their children were losing their national identity.
They began to lose all hope because their future looked dim and maybe even their very existence in the world would be completely wiped out and they would be completely forgotten as they were being eaten up by the Babylonians. They thought that God was going to hold their sin against them forever.
But then something amazing happened when they least expected it. In their distress, God came to his people and was going to remember their sins no more. He would not hold their sins against them.
When Isaiah looked at the incredible salvation through the suffering servant, the man of sorrows, he responded by saying: “Sing people sing, why are you just sitting there? Burst into song, and shout for joy” (Isa 54:1). Get up and celebrate for the great thing God has done!! The Israelites thought God was done with them but to their surprise he was not. When they broke the relationship, God allowed the Babylonians to carry them off into exile but God still loved them.
Before the Israelites were conquered, their sin was rebellion against God but after they were conquered, their sin changed to despair. Both are sins and both are equally devastating but God’s remedy for them was different. In exile, they needed God’s comfort and his unfailing love. This was God’s grace. God didn’t stop loving them just because they sinned. God’s love is unstoppable. When we experience God for who he is and what he has done for us, we can’t help but sing with joy and celebrate, leaving behind our moaning, groaning, sighing, and complaints. We can only thank God for his unfailing love for us that he has poured out upon our life over and over and over. When we truly taste God’s wonderful grace we can ululate because of God’s unfailing love. GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on, restore, bless and protect us through Christ Our Lord Amen. Good morning.
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