To comfort all who mourn;Isaiah 2b-3
to place on those who mourn in Zion
a diadem instead of ashes,
To give them oil of gladness instead of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a faint spirit.
Isaiah’s prophecy anticipates the second beatitude of the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). Sorrow for sin and suffering in this life is real and undeniable, but the immutable goodness of God anchors us amidst the crashing waves of change. Rejoicing in the Lord springs from a faith independent of circumstances.
For though the fig tree does not blossom,Habukkuk 3:17-18
and no fruit appears on the vine,
Though the yield of the olive fails
and the terraces produce no nourishment,
Though the flocks disappear from the fold
and there is no herd in the stalls,
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord
and exult in my saving God.
The Cross stands at the axis of the turning world as the ultimate model of filial trust in the Father. At the Last Supper Discourse, Jesus had predicted the betrayal of Judas and the triple denial of Peter in the face of his passion and crucifixion. None of his disciples had fathomed the meaning of “rising on the third day” during his previous conversations. Decades after the resurrection, the beloved disciple John recorded for the Church the immortal words of Jesus on Holy Thursday:
Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.John 16:20