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Consolation came into the world

St. Matthew repeats for us in his gospel (Matt. 12:15-21) the prophesy of Isaiah concerning the chosen servant of the Lord (Is. 42:1-4), a passage which is followed immediately by an account of miracles performed by Jesus and the Pharisees’ doubts regarding the Saviour.

Taken together, these elements form a fulfilment of the words of the prophets. The same Jesus who was born in Bethlehem is indeed the servant of the Lord spoken of in the Old Testament who is destined to suffer before men, He in whom the nations had placed their hopes.

The ideas of the suffering servant of the Lord and the king who is a servant of all have been the key to the understanding of the role of Christ from the days of the Early Church onwards.

God did not become man at Christmas in order to be served but to serve others. The role of the King of heaven is not to reign but to bring consolation.

This is foretold in the Book of Isaiah as well: “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid” (Is. 40:1-2a).

Comfort was born on earth with the nativity of Christ.

The event that follows this in the Gospel, the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt, was also predicted by the Old Testament prophets.

Jesus, the new Israel, was forced to flee the country in the same way as the first Israel. His return to his homeland was a new beginning, but Jesus never found a true home there; the new Israel was able to find his home only in heaven.

This is also our condition as followers of Jesus.

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