Our first reading is from Isaiah, Chapter 55. I suppose you know this, but isaiah died around the year 700 B.C., and his prophecies end with Isaiah, Chapter 39. All the passages from Chapter 40 on are the words of an unknown prophet who came to the people in 130 B.C., 160 years after Isaiah’s death. Somehow, when ancient scrolls were bundled up, the words of this later prophet were bound together with those of Isaiah. Not knowing his real identity, we usual refer to this unknown prophet as Second Isaiah. It is a shame we don’t know that great man’s name, because his words are among the most beautiful in the Bible.
In today’s reading he spoke of God’s word. By this he meant God’s graces, his promptings to do good and void evil, along with the flashes of understanding he gives to all of us many times a day,
In teaching school I used to take out a dollar, offering it as a prize to the first student who could memorize today’s reading word for word.
The passage compares God’s word, his promptings, his graces, to the abundance of rain falling on the earth. Actually it is a super-abundance. Much of the rainfall goes into gutters and creeks without ever contributing to the growth of crops. In the same way we ignore most of the graces God showers on us; but he so abundantly pelts us with his graces that some of it takes effect.Reading the paper and listening to the news one wonders why, with all the evil going on, the world doesn’t shrivel up and die. The reason is that the world sputters on because there is always enough of God’s graces being heeded in people’s hearts.