Reading: Isaiah 11:1-10
A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—
3 and he will delight in the fear of the Lord.
He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes,
or decide by what he hears with his ears;
4 but with righteousness he will judge the needy,
with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth.
He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth;
with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
5 Righteousness will be his belt
and faithfulness the sash around his waist.
6 The wolf will live with the lamb,
the leopard will lie down with the goat,
the calf and the lion and the yearling[a] together;
and a little child will lead them.
7 The cow will feed with the bear,
their young will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like the ox.
8 The infant will play near the cobra’s den,
and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest.
9 They will neither harm nor destroy
on all my holy mountain,
for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord
as the waters cover the sea.
10 In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious.
Gospel: Luke 10:21-24
21 At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
22 “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
23 Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. 24 For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.”
Isaiah provides us with an amazing prophecy: Jesse is the father of King David; and the “stump” is the remains of David’s kingdom. From that stump a shoot will grow – the Messiah. Isaiah goes on to detail His qualities and the ultimate impact of His life on Earth. Specifically, we will know Him by His wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and fear of the Lord.
In today’s Gospel Jesus, the subject of Isaiah’s prophecy, notes “these things” (namely, the effect of sending out the seventy-two to tell of His coming) were hidden from the wise and learned and revealed to little children.
Reflecting on these two verses side-by-side provides a kind of dilemma: If the Messiah’s first identifying quality mentioned in Isaiah is wisdom, and given we are asked to be more like Him in our daily lives, why would His revelation be hidden from the wise and learned?
The answer may rest not so much in how much we know and can do, but rather in how we express and how we give of what we know and can do. Do we use what wisdom and knowledge we have as a “wise and learned” Pharisee would, using his education and experience as a means of achieving superiority over others? Or do we use it as a child with a loving, generous heart would, as a gift from God that we are compelled to share with others as a means of helping them? Do we believe, as a Pharisee would, that our gifts are superior in development and refinement to those possessed by the people around us, and that makes us “special?” Or do we recognize, as a child would, that we still have a long way to go in developing and enhancing those gifts, and that makes us pilgrims on a journey together?
We are instructed here, and in several other readings from Scripture, to use our gifts to glorify God and help our neighbor, not to glorify ourselves. After all, they are gifts we have received, not recognitions we have earned.
In other words, take what you have been given, say thank you, and pay it forward.
What are your gifts? How have you used them to help? How can you express your thanks for these gifts in your prayer life and in your daily life? How can you work to improve and enhance these gifts?