Let the Scriptures Speak

Lumen Gentium

Nations shall walk by your light, 
and kings by your shining radiance.
 (Is 60;3)

The prophet that we call “Third Isaiah,” writing after the return of the Judeans to their homeland from Babylon, looks ahead to a time of even further restoration, when Zion would so reflect the light of God that the nations would flock to it. It is a renewal of the vision expressed long before by First Isaiah, picturing a time when all nations would stream toward Jerusalem to learn Torah and beat swords into plowshares (Is 2:2-5).

Further, today's reading echoes the songs of Second Isaiah, who envisioned Servant Israel missioned as a “light to the nations.” Matthew's account of the Magi worshiping the child Jesus reflects the early Church's conviction that the Christ's coming began to fulfill that vision of Isaiah. When the authors of Vatican II chose the phrase Lumen Gentium to name the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, they meant to remind us that the vision of the People of God as a “light for the nations” still beckons.


Dennis Hamm, SJ

**From Saint Louis University

Kristin Clauson