The Prophet Isaiah is a main player in our Advent readings. Isaiah’s message, throughout the period of the Babylonian Exile, is one of recognizing our sinfulness and our need for God’s mercy. It is a spiritual return to fidelity to God’s covenant. Isaiah speaks from the point of view of the sorrowful and contrite People of God. “Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful; all of us have become like unclean people, all our good deeds are like polluted rags; we have all withered like leaves, and our guilt carries us away like the wind.” Isaiah expresses what we all feel when we recognize the depths of our sin. We have sinned, and God is right to be angry with us; yet this anger is not God’s way.
Isaiah acknowledges that God’s way is to correct us, not destroy us. God is our creator, not our enemy. We need to be reshaped in God’s image—molded, not crushed. “Yet, O LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you the potter: we are all the work of your hands.” God’s intention for us is reform and renewal, and Jesus Christ is the key to this progress.
In Jesus our humanity is recreated stronger than ever. As St. Paul says to the Corinthians: “I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, that in him you were enriched in every way.” By His Incarnation Jesus elevates our humanity to perfect union with God. Jesus’ preaching and example give us testimony of the renewal made possible for us in relationship with Him. Again, to quote St. Paul, “He will keep you firm to the end, irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We do not need to continue in sin, separate from God’s love. We are capable of renewal thanks to Jesus. God’s perfect fidelity has given us the opportunity to renew ourselves in relationship to God. May we take this opportunity seriously this Advent season, and prepare ourselves well for the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us rededicate ourselves to Him Who Is Our Hope.