Today’s first reading is from a prophet called Second Isaiah who worked in Babylon in the sixth century BC and whose oracles are found in Isaiah 40-45. The word of God again plays a particularly important sacramental role in this reading. The Hebrew word dabar is translated as a spoken word as well as deed. Throughout salvation history both word and deed reveal the heart and mind of God. The word and actions of God are like the rain and snow that water the earth and provide the necessary wetness for life to continue. God’s Word does not return back to him void but achieves the end for which he sent it.