The first reading is from Second Isaiah, The Book of Consolation. The consolation is God’s presence among the people and in their history. God announces, “See, I am doing something new!” The same proclamation appears in Revelations 21, 5. The very next verse is cautionary for us, that we should have to look carefully and patiently to “perceive it” The work of discerning the presence through an accurate reading of the signs of the times is always a risky thing. In other words how do we know it is God, and how do we know that it is true.

The new thing is water in the desert! For the Judeans returning from Babylonian exile, water would have been a crucial issue for the journey. It’s like having the 10 necessary things to have in the care when traveling out West. God is also making a way, a clearly marked path for the people to return home. The note about the “honor” of the wild animals suggest something like Eden. The water is potable; God has taken care of everything.

More than the natural elements of the new creation, is that the people themselves are formed anew. The people are recreated to give God praise. This is the ultimate good of the human life — praise of God! The accompanying responsorial Psalm 126, a psalm of ascent to Jerusalem, praises God for the new thing that is happening to the people.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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