I am your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.
A reading from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 41:13-20)
I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.” Fear not, you worm Jacob, you men of Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Behold, I will make of you a threshing sledge, new, sharp, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff; you shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them. And you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together; that men may see and know, may consider and understand together, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM Psalm 145:1 and 9.10- 11.12-13ab (R. 8)
R. The Lord is kind and full of compassion,
slow to anger, abounding in mercy.
I will extol you, my God and king,
and bless your name forever and ever.
How good is the Lord to all,
compassionate to all his creatures. R.
All your works shall thank you,
O Lord, and all your faithful ones bless you.
They shall speak of the glory of your reign,
and declare your mighty deeds. R.
They shall make known your might to the children of men,
and the glorious splendour of your reign.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom;
your rule endures for all generations. R.
ALLELUIA Isaiah 45:8
Alleluia. Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down the Just One; let the earth open, that it may bring forth the Saviour. Alleluia.
No one greater than John the Baptist has risen.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (Matthew 11:11-15)
At that time: Jesus said to the crowds, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and if you are willing to accept it, he is Elijah who is to come. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Think of the shame and trauma the Israelites had while they were being led to exile. They suffered humiliation and were helpless in the face of opposition. To worsen the case, they were helplessly turned to slaves in exile. So Isaiah needed to restore their confidence once more. This restoration would come from an understanding that God never changes. The same God who helped Israel of old to fight their battle is still very much there to help them. The same message is being extended to us. When the enemy suggests to you that there can be other ways of getting out of your problems outside of God, tell the enemy that you serve a living God who changes not and who is bigger than your problems. And it shall be well with you.