I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them
Our first reading starts out and ends so hopeful. God is going to gather together many nations and peoples. There is to be no exclusivity in His kingdom. Godâ€™s glory will be proclaimed by these many peoples, and they shall gather others into the family of God. From among all these people, God will raise up priests and Levites from all people, not from some families.
Indeed, this hopeful message is what has been proclaimed by our Holy Church from its first days on Pentecost, when people of many nations and languages came to faith in Jesus Christ. This hope filled message was music to the ears of the downcast, the poor, widows, orphans, slaves, anyone in any sort of bondage, particularly sin bondage. The Church thrived amidst persecution, with people entering each week, to learn about the message of Jesus (and study over 3 years before being allowed full participation).
People heard the hopeful message of Jesus in the streets, in homes, from the mouths of His followers. Jesusâ€™ followers could not help but speak of Him and what He offered. By their work and words, people came to be saved.
What does Jesus offer? He offers inclusivity for those who come to Him in faith, who believe on Him with their entire being. He includes those who seek freedom by confession. He offers eternal promise and inheritance. The things and ways of the world are broken and without value. God came Himself, for them, to set them free. They were worthwhile children and coheirs.
We have to ask ourselves: In the midst of torture, prosecution, potential loss of life (and long study), in the midst of an everything and anything goes pagan culture, where I can have whatever I desire, why did the hope of Jesus, the Messiah, resonate so deeply. Why were people willing to sacrifice all to have Jesus? This was the way it was for nearly 500 years! And more came to Jesus every week. More and more sought His community – the Church.
Today, we live in a neo-pagan culture. The old ways are back. What we forgot for 1500 years is real again. We are called to reassess, to see there is no cheap entry fee. We will not just get by. We are the sign among them– the world. We are therefore called to live faithfully, speak boldly, and offer what is priceless to all.