The legacy of Isaiah in the Bible is grandiose. In the fourth century, Saint Jerome, with his passion for Scripture, calls him “not just prophet, but evangelist and apostle” (PL XXIV, 18). As evangelist, he draws a portrait of the Messiah -700 years before his coming- which we recognize in the face of Jesus, and as apostle, he is sent by God (cf. Is 6: 8) to announce his coming.
It is not surprising that during Advent, which covers the 4 weeks before Christmas, the Church leans on him to prepare for the imminent birth of Jesus. In the first three weeks of Advent we will read the book of Isaiah on 18 of the 21 total days. In these readings, the prophet provides some glimpses of the Messiah: “A shoot will sprout from the trunk of Jesse, and from his root a shoot will flourish. The spirit of the Lord will rest on him” (Is 11:1-2). And with him, the liturgy challenges us saying “Come, let us go up to the Lord´s mountain” (Is 2:3), where he will prepare for us “a feast of succulent delicacies” (Is 26:6). They are images of what God is preparing, which culminate announcing miracles of the mercy of God’s heart: “in that day, the deaf will hear the words of the scroll; and the eyes of the blind will see without gloom or darkness” (Is 29:18). Isaiah accompanies the descriptions of a messianic time with the promise of the coming of God himself: “your eyes will see your Master” (Is 30:20), and even: “«Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.». Then the eyes of the blind shall see, and the ears of the deaf be opened; then the lame shall leap like a stag, and the mute tongue sing for joy.” (Is 35:4-6).
In the fourth week, Isaiah comes closer to the mystery that is about to be fulfilled: “the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel” (Is 7:14). The virginal conception is a sign to recognize the announcement: the birth of a child who is God-with-us. We commemorate the most important event since the Big Bang. Can there be anything better? The Creator comes to visit us today; he wants to be with us again: let us prepare ourselves to receive him with the love of his Mother and Saint Joseph.
Father Joaquin Paniello