Hear the word of the Lord, you rulers of Sodom! Listen to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the Lord; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats.
When you come to appear before me, who asked this from your hand? Trample my courts no more; bringing offerings is futile; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and sabbath and calling of convocation - I cannot endure solemn assemblies with iniquity. Your new moons and your appointed festivals my soul hates; they have become a burden to me, I am weary of bearing them. When you stretch ot your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow.
I do not rebuke you for your sacrifices,
your burnt offerings are always before me.
I do not ask more bullocks from your farms,
nor goats from among your herds. (R./)
Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you? (R./)
When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think you that I am like yourself?
A sacrifice of thanksgiving honours me me;
and I will show God's salvation to the upright . (R./)
Jesus said: "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and one's foes will be members of one's own household.
Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and whoever does not take up he cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Those who find their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it.
"Whoever welcomes you welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. Whoever welcomes a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward; and whoever welcomes a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive the reward of the righteous; and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple - truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward."
Isaiah points to internal oppression within Israel, not caused as in the past by the Egyptians, but by their fellow-Jews. The religious scene in Isaiah's time seemed so perfectly observant that one could easily have overlooked the injustices and suffering in homes and places of employment. Yet God's anger blazes out in the words of the prophet: "Your new moons and festivals I detest; they weigh me down, I tire of the load... Though you pray the more, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood."
The "hands full of blood" refer to a judge's "Guilty" verdict in a lawcourt. But the divine judge gives another chance; instead of sentencing the guilty party to death, Israel is granted a reprieve, provided that they make justice their aim, redress the wronged, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow. Unless their religion turns towards social justice, God will "turn my hand against you, and refine your dross in the furnace" (Isa 1:25). In Isaiah's view, what God desires is peace with justice, compassion and human dignity. If needs be, fire will engulf the guilty party and burn away the dross.
Jesus refers to problems that can arise within the family circle, due to opposing values. His solution is not "peace at any price," but a peace that still respects our faith. If any discord threatens our relationships, our aim must not be dominance but a good conscience. We are summoned to be compassionate to others but firm in our faith, and willing to suffer and bear the cross, however the Lord sends it to us.