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Newsletter – 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Year B.

Calming the Sea

TAKE FIVE FOR FAITH –
WORD OF THE WEEK
Servant Songs –
Viewed as predictors of the vocation of Jesus, poems or oracles from the prophecies of Isaiah (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-11; 52:13–53:12). The songs refer to the faithful servant of God who is entrusted with a mission to his community and the nation and the suffering servant: rejected, beaten, and facing death because of his challenging message.

CONTEXT
Through the Servant’s ministry, the “bruised reed” will be strengthened, and the “dimly burning wick” will be inflamed. —Graziano Marcheschi, M.A. D.Min.
The fourth song is the famous “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah. It is a remarkable passage because it suggests . . . that God accepts one individual’s suffering to atone for the sins of others. —Lawrence Boadt, C.S.P., Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction

WHY IT MATTERS
Jesus has favourite scripture passages that he uses in his teaching. Deuteronomy and the Books of Prophecy score highest in frequency. But as Jesus “grows in wisdom, age, and grace,” it’s conceivable that he understands his earthly mission through the Servant Songs of Isaiah that sing of the Messiah who comes not to rule but to suffer for the world’s sin.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (713): The Messiah’s characteristics are revealed above all in the Servant Songs. These songs proclaim the meaning of Jesus’ Passion and show how he will pour out the Holy Spirit to the many. Taking our death upon himself, he can communicate to us his own Spirit of life.

RELATED WORDS
Oracle | Suffering Servant | Messiah

QUESTION OF THE WEEK
Is Jesus the Messiah?
The word Messiah has a complex history. Between Messiah and Christ—meaning “anointed”—lies a thousand years of evolving expectations. Messiahs aren’t the only biblical saviours. Moses, the judges, Nehemiah, Ezra, and even Queen Esther are considered saving figures. Israel needs frequent rescue, so the Bible contains many rescuers. Add to this gallery the biblical kings. Messianism reaches its height with Judah’s second king, David. David’s lineage is endowed with an everlasting anointing. Davidic kings don’t “save the world”; they are supposed to keep Judah safe. The problem is, they don’t.

The prophet Isaiah reboots messianic hope when he predicts a Messiah loyal to God, who establishes justice and peace. All nations have a stake in his Messiah. Yet, Isaiah’s Servant Songs add a sober note: This Messiah will come in humility and go the way of suffering. Other prophets embrace this vision. So does Jesus!
—Alice Camille, from Questions Catholics

REFLECTION OF THE WEEK
SOLEMNITY OF THE NATIVITY OF SAINT JOHN THE BAPTIST (JUNE 24)
Respond to your deepest calling
The name John means “God’s gift,” and such was the Baptist. From the moment he came on the preaching scene, he proved himself a powerful, captivating herald of God. His bold, dramatic, austere, and uncompromising style is what many people had in mind when they hoped for a Messiah. But John understood that his role was to prepare the way for the One who was to come, the light of our salvation.

FAITH IN ACTION
John’s prophetic witness and commitment to his call are his legacy to us. Share in his gift by being true to your own Christian calling.

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