Friday, August 19, 2016

Fugitives to the Nations

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Fugitives to the Nations

In this Sunday’s first reading, the prophet Isaiah briefly lifts the veil on the future at the climactic end of his long poetic book. He points beyond his own time to a future age, an age that God will bring about on his own initiative. Through Isaiah, God promises “to gather all nations and tongues” (Isa 66:18).While we might think of God abstractly as the great unifier, for the ancient Jews, this prophecy goes beyond their normal hopes. Much of their focus was on being safe and alone in the land with God since the nations around them constantly threatened their peace and autonomy. Yet here, Isaiah points to the dawning of a new age, one in which the people of God expands from one group to all. That is, God finally brings the fulfillment of his promise to Abraham that he would be the catalyst through whom “all the families of the earth” will be blessed (Gen 12:3).