The First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. The prophet blamed the defeat of the two provinces of Zebulum and Nephtali on the people of Israel. He considered it to be God’s punishment for their unfaithfulness and wickedness in abandoning God in favor of riches from trade. Isaiah seeks to offer words of hope and consolation to a people experiencing the darkness of oppression. “A new light will shine on a people living in a land of gloom.”
The First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. When commenting on the Book of Isaiah, scholars speak of three Isaiahs. Today’s reading is taken from second Isaiah, a prophet during Israel’s time in exile. Isaiah speaks of an unknown mysterious Servant who would one day unite the people of God. This Servant would restores Israel. He would be a light to the nations and brings back salvation to all the world. Christians have always understood Jesus and his mission to be the fulfillment of that messianic prophecy.
In the solemnity of the Epiphany (an appearance or a showing) of Christ to all humanity, the First Reading is from the Prophet Isaiah. God is about to bring a New Dawn to Israel. All the Nations will be drawn to the city bearing all kinds of gifts. This prophecy will be fulfilled when Jesus invites all people to come into his light. The Magi are the first Gentiles to respond to Jesus’ invitation.