The Responsorial Psalm invites us to proclaim and celebrate the triumph of God's saving truth, even
when the world seems deaf to it: "I will sing of your salvation" (Psalm 71).
Isaiah 49: 1-6 is an act of confidence in the face of apparent failure: "Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly spent my strength, yet... I am made glorious in the sight of the LORD, and my God is now my strength."
When it is sufficiently clear to us that our human strength is not enough, we are able to realize that God is our strength.
Isaiah's words apply prophetically to Jesus, who is about to win total victory by what is apparently total defeat. He has entered Jerusalem in triumph, acclaimed as successor to King David with shouts and waving palm branches, but he is entering to die. Yet his death and resurrection will extend his mission beyond the chosen people of Israel to include the whole earth: "It is too little for you to raise up the tribes of Jacob. I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth."
Luke 13: 21-38 shows us Jesus feeling the same sense of failure that Isaiah describes. "Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled and testified, 'Amen, amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me.'"
And it wasn't just Judas. To Peter, his trusted friend whom he had charged to keep the other disciples faithful to him (Luke 22: 31-32), he had to say, "The cock will not crow before you deny me three times."
Yet Jesus is able to believe that God will triumph, not only in spite of these defeats, but even through them. When Judas went out to betray him, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. God will also glorify him at once." Jesus is on his way to death, resurrection and glory. His work on earth is about to be accomplished. "I will sing of your salvation."
Sometimes when we reflect on the awe-inspiring ideals Jesus proposes to us - ways of thinking and acting that would renew the earth - we wonder if it is of any use: will people on this earth ever accept his truth and begin to follow his way? In answer God tells us to contemplate the glory of the risen Jesus and trust; just persevere in discipleship and trust. Discipleship is not perfect until it is an unconditional commitment to keep learning and reflecting on God's words regardless of results or reward. "The good soil are the ones who hear the word, hold it fast. and bear fruit with patient endurance" (Luke 8:15).
Initiative: Commit to lifetime discipleship based on pure faith in God.