“Fear not, I will help you” speaks Isaiah the prophet as the mouthpiece of the Lord, the God of Israel. Throughout the history of the people of Israel, their lives were marked by a cycle of trying to live God’s law, failing, and repenting for their failures. How well we too know this cycle. We cannot do this alone. But God speaks to us, through the ages, in the Book of this great prophet: “Fear not, I will help you.”
This promised help is announced by another prophet. He is the one who was foretold by Isaiah: “A voice of one crying out in the wilderness, prepare the way for the Lord.” He is John the Baptist. In the wilderness John preached the repentance of sins, for the Kingdom of God was at hand. He is announcing this promised help will come in the form of The Messiah, the Christ, the one foretold. It is He who will take the sins of many and “guide our feet into the way of peace.”
For this reason, Christ himself tells us that John was the greatest of the prophets, for he carried the greatest message. He was a man wholly devoted to his mission to tell the world the good news that Christ was entering human history. So devoted was he to this mission, that he knew it was larger than his particular personality. After he met his savior, John said “He must increase, I must decrease.”
As we prepare to commemorate the coming of Christ, let us always remember that He is the help promised to us. He will save us from our human failings both great and small, as long as we echo the words of John the Baptist, “He must increase, I must decrease,” and let Christ shine more radiantly through us every day of our lives.
John Coffey, Religion Department
Readings: Isaiah 41: 13-20, Matthew 11: 11-15