The conclusion of Isaiah 55 was recently a first reading for an ordinary Sunday. Like the other sections of this chapter, it has inspired much sacred music. Let’s read, then discuss, and perhaps offer a conclusion or two.
For just as from the heavens
the rain and snow come down
and do not return there
till they have watered the earth,
making it fertile and fruitful,
giving seed to the one who sows
and bread to the one who eats,
so shall my word be
that goes forth from my mouth;
my word shall not return to me void,
but shall do my will,
achieving the end for which I sent it.
This is where Scripture scholars see the conclusion of the Second Isaiah tradition (chapters 40-55 in the modern Bible). It’s a fitting end to the section of the larger book as well as that lengthy reading for Easter Vigil and for the sacrament of Reconciliation.
I see this as a message of comfort and hope. Believers might assess their own efforts as flawed and failed, but God’s divine agency and omnipotence finds our stumbling blocks irrelevant. God’s will is supreme. We can choose to be part of it or not. We can drift away for awhile, but just as sure as weather patterns and the renewal of life on the earth, God’s persistence will win the day. And when we return to God, it will be fresh as a watered landscape in a desert.