THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2018
RIDING UPON THE HEIGHTS
February 17, 2018
Today’s reading: Isaiah 58:9-14
Through the prophet Isaiah, God tells His people, “Then
you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make you ride upon
the heights of the earth; I will nourish
you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth
of the Lord has spoken.” (v.14). God chose and built
up His people Israel. He destined them to be a great nation.
Though they had strayed away and became unfaithful to their
covenant, God proclaimed restoration. They would ride upon
the heights of the earth, that is, be victorious in their
march and occupy all commanding positions, be beyond the reach
of danger and safe from enemies. They would enjoy the heritage
of Jacob, that is, possess the land promised to Jacob, and
enjoy the fullness of blessings reserved by God for His chosen
people. God’s people would have security and prosperity.
today are the new Israel. God’s promises to His chosen
and covenanted people are still true.
Israel was unfaithful and even idolatrous, despite God’s
patience and mercy, they lost it all. Now once again, God
promises greatness, as His great people do His great work,
but we have our part to play. So God gives conditions, various
“if you remove the yoke from among you, the accusing
finger, and malicious speech” (v.9b). We are not to
be unjust to or oppressive of others. We are not to be judgmental.
We are not to lie, malign, slander and gossip. These are especially
deadly in Christian community, and will cause strife and division,
making the body of Christ unable to do great work.
“if you lavish your food on the hungry and satisfy the
afflicted” (v.10a). We are to be mindful of the poor.
We are to help build the Church of the Poor. Now this is not
just about material well-being but also about spiritual. People
are hungry for the word of God. People are afflicted by the
enemy. People need liberation from both material and spiritual
“if you refrain from trampling the sabbath, from following
your own pursuits on my holy day, if you call the sabbath
a delight, the Lord’s holy day glorious” (v.13a).
We are to keep the Lord’s day holy. Sunday is for God
in the Eucharist, and also for family and rest. Our focus
is to be on what really mattersGod (and His Church) and
the family, on the larger Church that is the body of Christ
and the small Church that is the home. We spend time in church
and receive the graces bestowed in the Eucharist, and we spend
time in our home and minister to those of God’s people
whom He has placed in our care.
“if you glorify it by not following your ways, seeking
your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs” (v.13b).
We are not to look to our own interests, priorities, preferences
or agenda. We are the people of God, and our ways and interests
should be God’s ways and interests. God first, then
everything else follows.
we do all the above, then God’s blessings will be poured
out. This is manifested by the “thens” in Isaiah’s
“then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you
shall cry for help, and he will say, ‘Here I am!’”
(v.9a). This is amazing. We know we are God’s servants;
He calls us and we respond. But here God says He will answer
when we call and ask for help. He will be like a servant who
says, here I am. Indeed, Jesus came not to be served but to
“then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your
gloom shall become like midday” (v. 10b). We live in
a world of darkness, dominated by the evil one. But Christians
have been called to be the light of the world. We shall be
empowered to truly be so. We will be used by God to bring
His light to dispel the darkness.
“then the Lord will guide you always and satisfy your
thirst in parched places, will give strength to your bones
and you shall be like a watered garden, like a flowing spring
whose waters never fail.” (v.11). We are to do God’s
work, but in order to be able to do so, we need His mind and
His might. Thus God assures us of His guidance and His strength.
He will use us to bring refreshment to those who thirst, to
share the Christ who is the source of ever-living water.
“then you shall delight in the Lord, and I will make
you ride upon the heights of the earth” (v.14a). In
other words, God will make us great.
prophecy about being destined for greatness should be particularly
interesting to us as CFC-FFL. In our evangelization and works
for justice and life, we strive to serve families and the
Church. This is the great work that God intends. “Your
people will rebuild the ancient ruins; the foundations from
ages past you shall raise up; ‘Repairer of the breach,’
they shall call you, ‘Restorer of ruined dwellings.’”
(v.12). Today, marriages, families and homes are being ruined,
and the assaults against family and life are intensifying.
Today, our Church, established by Jesus two millennia ago,
is threatened, as Catholics leave the faith, and liberals/progressives
undermine the age-old faith from within.
defense, renewal and strengthening of the family and of the
Church (the family of God) is critical.
this is the great work that God intends. And those who respond
in fidelity, zeal and endurance, will be those who are destined
for greatness in Christ.
The phrase “heights of the earth” or something
similar occurs in Deuteronomy 32:13, Psalm 18:34, Amos 4:13,