Elaine Wainwright introduces the prophet Baruch encouraging the Hebrew exiles with God’s promise of their return to and restoration of their land.
We will hear Baruch 5:1-9 for the First Reading on the second Sunday of Advent. The verses make up the final prophetic oracle of an unknown prophet. His work has been attributed to Jeremiah’s scribe who bears the same name, Baruch. The book is not included in the Jewish canon nor that of most Protestant denominations. In the Catholic Lectionary it is one of the Deuterocanonical books. However, readers will hear in this text echoes of other postexilic prophets envisioning the exiles’ return to the land of Israel and to Jerusalem.
These prophets can provide inspiration to the ecological reader as they draw on imagery from the material world to envisage a new future for the people of Israel on their return to their place, their land. Initially, the prophet addresses the city, Jerusalem — destroyed by the Babylonians and left in ruin during exile. It is as if the city is clothed with a garment of “sorrow and affliction”…
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Elaine Wainwright RSM is a biblical scholar specialising in eco-feminist interpretation and is currently writing a Wisdom Commentary on Matthew’s Gospel.