Thursday, December 6, 2007

Ascendens in Montem

Wednesday's readings focus on the powerful message of "God's mountain." There is no doubt why these readings are so often used for funerals because of the peace it brings.

In the reading from Isaiah there is one of a great feast of "rich foods and choice wines" (Isaiah 25:6). It is here that God saves:
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.
The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
from the whole earth; for the LORD has spoken. ~ Isaiah 25:7-10

The veil that veils all people, greater than any particular person or group, is that of sin and death. We all have it, a grievous mark, but Jesus did come to remove the reproach of His people and wipe away tears from all faces. He does save and it is through Him that we have the promise of eternal life.

Paralleling the passage from Isaiah is the feeding of the multitudes, those lame, blind, mute, and deformed who had followed Jesus to the mountain:
Great crowds came to him,
having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute,
and many others.
They placed them at his feet, and he cured them.
The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking,
the deformed made whole,
the lame walking,
and the blind able to see,
and they glorified the God of Israel. ~ Matthew 15:30-31
We are those lame and deformed. We may not be the physically deformed, but we are those people, in a spiritual sense, having within ourselves a broken sense and a need for a savior. Let us not lose sight of Him and reject His call to come to Him.

Each time we go to Mass and partake in the Eucharist we echo that same situation of Jesus going to the top of the mountain and with the crowds coming to him in need of healing. He gave them healing and fed them with bread (the seven here is important) and fish. From the account:
The disciples said to him, "Where could we ever get enough bread in this deserted place to satisfy such a crowd?" ~ Matthew 15:33
How is this earth now not also a deserted place spiritually? It is through God that we are satisfied and are given the daily bread we need.

We are those same people in need of substance of food and given through Jesus, and we—like them—are all satisfied. For as it was written: "They all ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over--seven baskets full" (Matthew 15:37). May we be blessed with that bountiful blessing of fragments left over. That we find God's grace overflowing within each of our days until we reach our heavenly home, when we join God on His holy mountain for the eternal feast. Amen.

Wednesday's readings:
First: Is 25:6-10a
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 23:1-3a, 3b-4, 5, 6
Gospel: Mt 15:29-37

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