Daughters And Sons Of The King


There are a series of short oracles or prophesies, which are called the “hoy” oracles, because each one begins with the word “hoy” or “Ah!”. Sometimes translated as “woe”, the “hoy” at the beginning was meant to be an attention grabber.

The prophets, with Isaiah as one of the greats among them, repeatedly try to get the attention of the Kings of Israel. They point out again and again their infidelities and their failure to fulfill their responsibility to defend the weak and maintain justice for all their people.

In today’s reading from Isaiah, the prophet, speaking for God, describes how he is using Assyria to punish the people of Israel. This is common in the Old Testament, to credit or blame God for natural disasters, victory or defeat in war and to blame afflictions on sin.

A fuller definition for oracle is a prophecy which is ambiguous and obscure. That means we have to go digging, there is more to this than what is found on the surface.

The Catechism helps. Divine providence is the “dispositions by which God guides his creation towards perfection”. (CCC 302) God didn’t create the world complete and perfect (remember that perfect doesn’t always mean without flaw, it can also mean complete or whole). The world is on a journey towards its destiny and God is the not only the source of the sojourn but an active guide along the way. Scripture is very clear that divine providence is not some abstract, absent creator, divine providence is clear and immediate, God cares for all, from the least to the greatest events of the world and its history, (CCC 303)

“And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a ‘primitive mode of speech,’ but a profound way of recalling God’s primacy and Lordship over history and the world and so of educating his people to trust in him.” (CCC 304)

The Kings of Israel fell out of relationship with God and become satisfied with their own power among men. They were not faithful to God or the people around them. As a result, their kingdom was at risk and other kings take advantage and conquer them.

We too are royalty by virtue of our baptism. We are the sons and daughters of not just a king, but the King. We have a share in the joys of the kingdom and the responsibility of being a member of the king’s family. Just as Isaiah challenged the kings of old, we are asked: how are we fulfilling our responsibility to defend the weak and maintain justice? Do we become so enamored of our own work and success that we fail to value others? Are we guilty of infidelity to God or just as bad, infidelity to our responsibility to our fellow men; especially the vulnerable among us?

Before we start feeling hopeless and like it is all too much, we can’t possibly do it, the Gospel reading gives us our promised guidance for the journey. Jesus says, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike.” Jesus isn’t talking about those who are childish, but those who are childlike; those who have a childlike faith; open and humble. He is talking to the poor in spirit who accept and rely on God’s providence.

God transcends all human knowledge and experience. Try as we might, all of our efforts to understand him, fall short of the reality. But the humble believer will see the face of God in Jesus Christ, who is the perfect (complete) image of God, the Father. And as St. Mother Teresa liked to remind us, we see Jesus Christ in the faces of those in need around us.

As daughters and sons of the King, we are royalty, and with that comes a great responsibility to further our Father’s kingdom. But he isn’t asking us for grand gestures or to win dramatic wars, rather he is asking us to be poor in spirit, to rely on him. We are to love and care for one another. “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” (Mother Teresa)

Today’s Gospel reading ends with: “All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

Acceptance of our royal role, of our Father as our King depends on the Father’s revelation; and this is granted to those who have childlike humility and are open to receive it.

Ah-hoy! Now, that is worth our attention.

While wearing many hats, Sheryl O’Connor is the wife and study buddy of Thomas O’Connor. Not having received the gift of having their own children, their home is filled with 2 large dogs and their hearts with the teens and youth with whom they work in their parish collaborative. Sheryl is the Director of Strong Families Programs for Holy Family Healthcare which means her job is doing whatever needs to be done to help parents build strong Catholic families. Inspired by the works of mercy, Holy Family Healthcare is a primary healthcare practice in West Michigan which seeks to honor the dignity of every individual as we would Christ. Find out more at https://www.holyfamilyhealthcare.org/