Today’s Advent reflection for the 2nd Monday of Advent, 2016
Doesn’t it seem like that one time you really need to get someplace (say, a job interview or a hospital), traffic is completely jammed up? Bumper-to-bumper. Taillights as far as you can see. Your heart is pounding and your thoughts are racing.
Today’s readings are for just this occasion. (Not that you should pull this up on your smartphone while you’re stuck in traffic.) In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah stands in a dry and parched desert. There might not be a traffic jam here, but there is no water either; this place is dead. But Isaiah sees with the eyes of faith: The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. “Fear not!” Isaiah proclaims: God will make a way for you in the desert: A highway will be there, called the holy way.”
In the Gospel today, a group of men have a problem. Their friend is ill; paralyzed in fact. They know that Jesus is in their village and they know He has the power to cure. But these men cannot get anywhere near Jesus; the crowd is too large. They are stuck, essentially, in a traffic jam. But these guys were not going to give up. They hauled their friend, who was on a stretcher, up onto the roof of the house where Jesus was, tore a hole in the roof, and lowered their friend down. Jesus forgave the man’s sins, and then cured him. Clearly, these men knew about the Holy Way Highway.
In our spiritual lives, we often get stuck. We are in a dry, deserted place. God feels a long way from us. We cry out, “Help! God: where are You? I need you!” Or, like the men in the Gospel today, there are such huge obstacles in front of us it seems as if it would be easier to just turn around and go back home. We don’t see a way to get to where we need to go.
We need to get on the Holy Way Highway. It’s there – it’s always a choice. However, God will not force us onto it; we have to get on ourselves. And there are a few “tolls” that have to be paid:
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
We have to be prepared to do the work that God asks. We have to acknowledge our sinfulness and ask for forgiveness. We have to seek out wisdom and counsel. If we are striving to be closer and closer to God, then the highway is open to us.
This Advent, if you’re in a dry and deserted place, if you do not see a way to get closer to God, read the Mass readings for today. Pray over them. Ask God to help you see what you need to do during this holy season to prepare for the Coming of the Lord. Ask God to lead you onto the Holy Way Highway.
[Throughout the 2016 Advent season, we will be bringing you posts from a variety of writers. Our hope is that each of these will be a meaningful way for you to slow down, pray well, and prepare for the coming of our Lord. Today’s blogger is Elise Hilton, who regularly writes the“Living the Good News” blog for Diocesan Trinity Publications. Hilton is a writer, speaker and former educator, who now serves in the Marketing & Communications Department for Diocesan Trinity Publications. She is also an avid reader, mom of five and passionate about music. Today’s Mass readings may be found here.]