O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. -Isaiah 2:5
Mountains! Beautiful! Majestic! Some people feel the need to climb up to the very summits of the highest mountains in the world. Some of us stand at the bottom or admire them in photographs. Whether we are standing on these great places or looking at photographs we are in awe of their majesty. Created by the moving of ice over the earth many thousands of years ago they stand as watchtowers of the world.
The prophet Isaiah writes of “the LORD’s house being established on the highest mountain.” In scripture, mountains or going up to a high place is about heaven. Isaiah is writing about the future, when God’s Kingdom will be completed and what the possibilities are when that comes to fulfillment. The prophet Isaiah was writing to give hope to people of his time. Hope that they would no longer need to be in exile. Hope that they would not need to be prepared to protect themselves against enemies. Hope for peace among all peoples.
The author of the Gospel of Matthew writes that people from all places on earth will join in the “banquet in the Kingdom of heaven”. An unlikely person, a Roman officer, approaches Jesus and asks for help for a servant who is very ill. Obviously, the Roman officer has heard about Jesus either from talk on the streets or from his own servants. He must have some love for his servant in order to want to seek Jesus out to have him be healed from his illness. An unexpected person, a Gentile, asking a “teacher” for assistance. The Gospels are full of unexpected requests for help from Jesus. Requests come mostly from the poor, the outcast, and Gentiles. Requests come from people from all walks of life who have faith, the one requirement for healing. Faith can be shown by the person in need of healing or the people who bring the person to be healed or even a Roman officer.
Advent is about Hope. Hope that life can be different. Hope that our world can move towards a peaceful state of being. God’s Kingdom was established over two thousand years ago. And it has been evolving, taking shape through all of us as we go about our daily activities. God’s Kingdom has been evolving in the ways we treat one another through the giving of our time, talent, and treasure. The “mountain of the LORD” is the highest mountain to climb. It is steep and rocky in some places and in some places it is easy to walk. As long as we are moving forward and up we are on the right path. As long as we remember who is walking beside us, we are on the right path. Advent is a time to prepare for the coming of the Lord in our hearts in a new way. How we choose to deepen our relationship this coming year is up to us. How will you continue to climb the “mountain of the LORD”? Will you stand at the bottom and admire this mountain or will you be the one who continues to climb?
As we begin, a new liturgical year, may you and your families have a blessed Advent Season!
Linda Schork is a theology teacher at Saint Xavier High School in Louisville, Kentucky.