Isaiah's Promise

The reading from Isaiah, nicely picked up by the response--Psalm 122--takes us to Zion: the hill on which Jerusalem sat, where the temple rested, whence royal Davidic enterprises worked, and most important of all, where stood God’s cosmic throne, rooted deep in the earth and brushing the heavens. The main voice speaking here seems to have been an 8th century prophet (later attracting and accumulating additional material from the sixth-century exile and the fifth-century return) who had the challenge of advising several kings of Judah not to antagonize by any action they might contemplate the powerful and hungry Assyrian empire to the north. In this short passage, we hear the voices of "Gentile" and "Jew" intone respectfully, even antiphonally: "Let us climb the Lord’s mountain...."; "Let us walk in the light of the Lord...." They are drawn to the gentle hill of Jerusalem which the prophet, with characteristic love of exaggeration and contrast, glorifies into earth’s highest mountain. There they seek its resources: strength, joy, instruction, justice, peace. Conscious of the descendants of these eager pilgrims assembling at Annapolis, it seems urgent that we join our hearts with those in their midst who seek God’s gifts that Isaiah promises and that we turn our own feet and hands, lips and hearts, to whatever deeds of peace we can contribute in solidarity to the cosmos. Barbara Green, O.P.

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