Tuesday, December 7, 2010

"Paving a Highway" for the Hearing of the Good News

"A voice cries out:
 In the desert prepare the way of the LORD! 
Make straight in the wasteland a highway for our God! 
Every valley shall be filled in, 
every mountain and hill shall be made low;
 The rugged land shall be made a plain, 
the rough country, a broad valley.
 Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together; 
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken." (Isaiah, 40:3-5).

These words of the Prophet Isaiah (part of the first reading from today's Mass) indicate that the plan of God is for God's glory to be made manifest and accessible to all. The "making of a highway" in the wasteland, the "filling in of the valley", the "leveling" of every mountain, the rugged land being made plain, and the rough country being transformed into a broad valley, is highly imaginative and figurative language which is symbolic of God's activity (through human agency) to make God's glory an "up close and personal" reality to every person.

This vivid and powerful imagery of Isaiah's raises an important consideration regarding what Christian discipleship entails. By saying that the mandate of discipleship is namely to "preach the Good News", we may actually be putting the "cart before the horse!" Meaning, before the Good News can be heard, received, and embraced, every obstacle, whether personal, interpersonal, social, political, cultural, or even, ecclesial (i.e., Church), that is in the path of God's glory must be removed. The challenge that this poses for those who profess belief in Christ is to be actively engaged, to whatever degree we can, in all of the above areas of life, seeking to remove the obstacles to God's presence and "paving a highway" for the hearing of the Good News. Pat, TOR