Both Isaiah and Peter had the task of comforting and encouraging their communities during times of exile. The Israelites were in geographic exile from Israel; to them this was, in effect, the same as being in exile from their God. The early Christians, following the Resurrection, expected an immediate return of Christ in glory; they, too, felt in “exile” as the delay of the Second Coming grew longer and longer. All four of scripture’s authors today—Isaiah, the psalmist, Peter, and Mark—hasten to help us see things in God’s terms, not ours. They want us to know that we can never truly be exiled from God, or from God-among-us, since we know that when the faithful are gathered, Christ has come into their midst. Instead, we are encouraged today to do what we can from our end to shorten the time of our exile: to repent of our sins, to return our lives to the Lord, to live as people who seek the coming day of the Lord, when “kindness and truth shall meet; justice and peace shall kiss” (Psalm 85:10).
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