'When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient to his voice; he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.'
There is an underlying message to the fact that Deutoronomy, a priestly writing, deals so much with faithfulness to God, and the fatal consequences of giving up the covenant. The sub-text is that 'ritual orthodoxy' – liturgical observance – is vital in preserving God's Presence in the community. By observance we also mean the regularity of prayer and charity.
Luke's Gospel shows us Jesus at work in his own form of prayer, the faithful observance and imitation of his Father's compassion. He heals the sick; and gives back the dead son to the mother. His constant toiling in gifting those who are most in need leads to the recognition: '...And they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us.'
When John the Baptist learns of the 'prayer work of Jesus' (giving Messianic life), he sends over his disciples to ask Jesus: 'Art thou he that should come? or look we for another? What is interesting is that 'in that same hour he cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits, and unto many that were blind he gave sight.' In that very hour when the Baptist, through his envoys, approached him in full of faith. As if the our opening 'dialogue' would be repeated here. The faithful trust of Jewry, represented by John, and God's response of generously multiplied Life! That is why, the exchange of words between the Baptist and Jesus is the most important fulfilment of the Old Testament promise (our opening quote).
'Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.'
These are verbal Icons, expressions of how the world is seen from Saint Augustine's..