First Reading:  Isaiah 58:7-10


Let Your Light Shine!


What discourages you? How do you fight against discouragement?


The Lord said:


58:7 Isn’t it to distribute your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor who are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you not hide yourself from your own flesh? 58:8 Then your light shall break forth as the morning, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; and your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of Yahweh shall be your rear guard.


58:9 Then you shall call, and Yahweh will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’


“If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking wickedly; 58:10 and if you draw out your soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul: then your light shall rise in darkness, and your obscurity be as the noonday.


World English Bible


These verses came from the so-called Third Isaiah. Unlike Isaiah (chapters 1-39) written the late seventh century B.C., and Second Isaiah (chapters 40-55) written during the end of the Babylonian exile (mid-fifth century B.C.), this last section (chapters 56-66) were composed for those rebuilding Jerusalem (late fifth century B.C.) . The exiles had returned from Babylon. The euphoria of the homecoming had worn off. Now the hard work and drudgery of city renewal laid heavy on the citizens. A malaise crept in. These final ten chapters addressed the lax attitudes of the community.


Popular pious practices became a chance for community-wide self pity. Such wallowing would not do! (See Isaiah 58:3-5) In the midst of a diatribe against cultural fasting, Third Isaiah asked a simple question. What was the true spirit of fasting? To give up food and goods for the needy. [58:7]. In the concern for neighbor, the faithful would shine. Then, God would be present to his people, hear their prayer, and heal the wound of the broken city. [58:8-9a] Stop the "poor me" attitude, the finger pointing, and back-biting. [58:9b]. Then the gloom and darkness of depression will seem like the noon! [58:10]


Third Isaiah pointed to positive attitude and charitable action as the ways to shine. Should we not do the same?


How can you let your light shine? Or, how can you let God shine through you?