The book of the second Isaiah starts beginning with chapter 40. Deutero-Isaiah (Isaiah 40-55) was written during the Babylonian Exile and is a book of hope quite different from Proto-Isaiah (Isaiah 1-39) announcing doom’s day.
Today’s reading Isaiah 40:1-31 starts with a shout-out to the homeland:
“Comfort my people,” says our God. “Comfort them! Encourage the people of Jerusalem. Tell them they have suffered long enough and their sins are now forgiven.”
Right after that the prophet announces that God’s people will be able to return home:
A voice cries out, “Prepare in the wilderness a road for the LORD! Clear the way in the desert for our God! Fill every valley; level every mountain. The hills will become a plain, and the rough country will be made smooth. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed, and all people will see it. The LORD himself has promised this. ”
Do you remember another voice in the wilderness proclaiming the upcoming salvation? Here is the beginning of the Gospel according to Mark about John the Baptist’s ministry:
This is the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It began as the prophet Isaiah had written: “God said, ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you to open the way for you.’ Someone is shouting in the desert, ‘Get the road ready for the Lord; make a straight path for him to travel!’”