In the Old Testament of the Bible there were holy men who told the people what they believed it was that God was expecting of them. These holy men were called “prophets”. One of these prophets who lived about 500 years before the birth of Jesus was a man called Isaiah.

After the Jewish people returned to Israel after they had been exiled in Babylon a person wrote a series of poems which he or she attributed to the prophet Isaiah.

Of course Isaiah had long since died. In one of these poems, which we read today at Mass (the first reading), the author predicts that a new joyful age will come. There is a predication that there will be great happiness in the world because a man will serve all people by bringing good news to the poor, freedom for prisoners and joy to the broken-hearted. Of course, for we Christians this person is Jesus. For us the new era of joy has begun and we have every reason to celebrate. Hence, as we approach the celebration of the birth of Jesus, we are invited to be full of joy. That is why this Sunday is called “Gaudiamus Sunday” (Gladness Sunday).

Like Isaiah, we are all prophets and, as such, we too are invited to be people who exude great happiness because we are living in the Christian era. We too have a message of good news for the poor, freedom for prisoners and hope for the broken hearted.

Rev Fr Tom Stevens