For Sunday, March 28, 2021
Liturgy of the Passion, Year B
How do we win our biggest spiritual battles? This passage in Isaiah points to the way.
“The Lord has given me the tongue of a teacher, that I may know how to sustain the weary with a word” (v. 4). This hits me very personally: I’m called to be a teacher and sustain others with God’s Word. Of course, in the passage, it applies first and foremost to Messiah, but by extension, it applies also to all who follow him, and particularly to those with a calling to write and teach. At the present moment, many of us are weary; weary of the state of our countries; weary of the state of our families; weary of the state of our souls.
Jesus won the biggest spiritual battle ever fought. How? Through overwhelming force of personality? Through superior organization? Through military firepower? Through cleverness? No. He won the biggest spiritual battle ever fought through quiet committed resolve.
“The Lord has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious, I did not turn backward.” We need to open our ears to what the Spirit is saying, not rebel when things start to become uncomfortable, and commit to pressing into the battle when others would shirk away.
“I gave my back … my cheeks … my (face)” (v. 6). Actions speak louder than words. Actions of humility, and the inner confidence and faith required to exercise it, speak loudest of all.
“The Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame” (v. 7). Let’s recognize we are not in this battle alone. May our visages reflect the resolve of inevitable victory. Because Christ triumphed on the cross, we will never be put to shame for following him, no matter the light and momentary afflictions that may attend.
“It is the Lord God who helps me; who will declare me guilty?” At the moment of his crucifixion, Jesus had but a few wavering disciples still on his side. Everyone else was declaring him guilty! Yet he was immediately and ultimately found innocent in the one court that mattered: the court of the Heavenly Father. In that same Holy of Holies is our personal victory assured.
Live this week with quiet committed resolve!