Hebrew commentary on the Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent
Photo credit: KUL Heschel Center
Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua) is a shortened version of the name “Yehoshua” (Lord saves), Emmanuel (Hebrew: immanu El) means “God with us” – two Hebrew names that contain the essence and function of the announced Messiah, writes biblical scholar Rev. Prof. Dr. Miroslaw Wróbel, director of the Abraham J. Heschel Center for Catholic-Jewish Relations at the Catholic University of Lublin, in his commentary for the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
The Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Advent announces the coming of the Messiah, whose essence and function are contained in two Hebrew names.
The first name is Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua), which is a shortened version of the name “Yehoshua” (Lord saves). The name “Yeshua” can be related to the Hebrew term “yochia”, which means “he will save”. The name conveys the mission of the Messiah, who comes into the world to save every human being. This salvation is realized through liberation from sin and all evil. To save is to lead from darkness to light; from slavery to freedom; from hatred to love; from death to life.
The second name is “Emmanuel” (Hebrew: immanu El), which means “God with us.” The prophet Isaiah mentions this name in his proclamation of the future Messiah (Isaiah 7:14). The name defines the function of the Messiah as the one who assures humanity of communion with God. It is a community of Love that is eternal. This is vividly described in the Book of Revelation, which, showing the new heavens and new earth, emphasizes that God will fully dwell with people: He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them [as their God]” (Rev. 21:3).
In the glow of Hanukkah candles and Advent candles, we are invited to see the Light of God, who dispels the darkness in our lives and creates a community of Love with us. May the burning candles of our hearts allow us to be open to others and to experience the peace that is the most wonderful gift of the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, for us.
About the Author
Fr. Prof. Dr. Miroslaw Wróbel, head of the Section of Biblical Studies, head of the Department of Biblical Philology and Inter-Testamental Literature at the Institute of Biblical Studies, Faculty of Theology, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, head of the Program in Biblical Formation, director and scientific editor of the “Aramaic Bible” project, director of the Abraham J. Heschel Center for Catholic-Jewish Relations at the Catholic University of Lublin since October 2022.