“O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For thou hast made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify thee; cities of ruthless nations will fear thee. For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the blast of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall…” (Is 25: 1-4)

In today’s reading from Isaiah, the Prophet contrasts merely-human plans, symbolized here by city-building, with God’s “plans formed of old, faithful and sure.” The merely-human “city,” insofar as it is built outside of God or in self-reliance, is not truly a city but a “palace of aliens”; of disparate members, “alienated” or fragmented from one another. It is a “ruthless” and lonely place, in which we are both fragmented within ourselves and isolated from one another, and in which we are deprived of the “stronghold” of One greater than ourselves. By His unifying grace, He alone can offer us true “shelter” from our “storms” and “shade” from our “heat.”

On this Tuesday of the 4th week of Lent, let me re-embrace my “stronghold” Who is God, in a bit of heartfelt prayer. I need not be an “alien” among other “aliens,” as God continues to do “wonderful things” for all of us, by His creative energies. Let me let myself have the eyes to see these “wonderful things” in this Lenten springtime, when the trees are blossoming in my beautiful “city” (see the picture attached to this reflection) not according to “our” plans but those of God, and when the Lenten season is leading us, regardless of how/whether "we" prepare for it, toward the celebration of the Resurrection. “We bow down before Your cross, O Master, and praise Your holy resurrection!”


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