Commentary on the Gospel of
Praying with Jesus in the Womb
I see today’s first reading from Isaiah as an invitation, one that encompasses all of life, really, but is offered to us in a particularly meaningful way here in Advent. The reading uses language of “return,” so to me this is an invitation to come home, to return to where God desires us to be.
Where is this? It’s a place of wholeness, where our afflictions are healed. It is a place where life and energy and beauty abound. It is a place of harmony and unity, where the causes of fear and mistrust are removed. This is where our invitation calls us.
The implication, of course, is that if we are returning somewhere, we have been someplace else. Perhaps, in the language of Isaiah, we have been feeble, weak, or frightened. Perhaps we have been thirsty in a spiritual or emotional desert. Maybe we have been foolish and gone astray in how we treat the people in our lives, how we choose to spend our time, or in our general attitude about life.
Some of my favorite words in this reading are “A highway will be there, called the holy way; it is for those with a journey to make.” We all have a journey to make this Advent; we all have a holy way to travel as we seek to return home to the way of living and being that God desires for us. How can I work toward healing for myself, for someone else, or in a particular relationship? What areas of my life need a fresh dose of life, energy, and beauty? How can I contribute to harmony and unity in my family and my community? How can I return?
The gospel shows us how important these questions are because it gives us a vivid story to show that if we just want to wait around for things to magically happen or spontaneously get better, we’re probably going to be waiting for awhile. The paralyzed man and his friends did not just passively hope that something would change or something good would come around. They MADE IT HAPPEN! Our road, our holy way of returning to God is a way of action, choosing to take steps in our lives that lead to healing, abundant life, and unity. What are those steps for us? What holy way are we being invited to travel this Advent?