In the time of Isaiah, the source of our first reading today (IS 42:1-7), the people of Israel were looking for light at the end of a long tunnel.
Dispersed among many nations, they felt the brunt of secular societies that demanded they stop the foolishness of their faith in God. This was not a mere inconvenience. This was their very identity. They were the chosen people of God.
As we observe Holy Week, we place ourselves into their shoes. We have seen Christ. We follow. We believe. But our hopes are dashed when our new king is suddenly arrested, judged, condemned, beaten and finally crucified.
He is gone.
What do we do now?
Like the people of Israel so many years ago, we long for a light at the end of this dark tunnel. Isaiah spoke of hope and promise. A servant has come! A chosen one who will bring justice and a “light for the nations.” Not through force or by shouting in the street. But by teaching those who will listen, by helping the blind see and giving light to the darkness.
The servant will do this not just in his own land, but from coast-to-coast, his influence reaching out to a pagan world waiting to hear his voice.
Suffer … he must.
But in the end, there is much joy and triumph.
The people of Israel saw these words and wondered who this servant was to be? Many saw him as the people of Israel collectively – a nation called to suffer and to lead the rest of the world.
Today, Christians see Christ as the servant foretold in Isaiah.
Christ is the one who brings forth justice.
Christ is the one who came to forgive.
Christ is the one whose message was spread from coast-to-coast.
Christ gives us breath to live; a spirit to thrive.
This week, as we wander down that familiar path to the darkness of Holy Thursday, the anguish and suffering of Good Friday, the loneliness of Holy Saturday … Christ holds our hand.
He opens our eyes so that we are not blinded by the darkness or distracted by the lands in which we live. He leads us along the path toward the great Easter of salvation.
We long to see that light. We long for the end of that tunnel.
But we must wait.
Step by step, day by day, we place our fears aside and follow in the footsteps of our Lord.
We carry our own crosses … but we look forward to the day our burdens are lifted forever.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation … of whom should I be afraid?” (PS 27)