MOUNTAIN HOPE: A HOMILY ON WEDNESDAY, 1ST WEEK OF ADVENT
If you have never experienced it, I am sure that if you live long enough, you will experience it one day. I am talking about something that will happen to you that will make you wonder if God is loving or just wicked. Think of today’s gospel. So many sick people were looking for Jesus and goes up the mountain and the poor, sick, cripled, blind, disabled people have to climb the mountain to get to Him. As if that is not enough, they spent three days on that mountain without food. Only after three days He made a move to get them something to eat. There are times in my own life when I have felt like these people. One of the times when we can feel this way is when we have suffered to take care of a loved one and after all the suffering, the person dies and suddenly we begin to wonder what it means to say God is love.
The whole bible is full of images of mountains. Moses met God on the mountain, Elijah met God on the mountain, Jesus preached on the mountain, He was transfigured on the mountain, He was crucified on the mountain, he ascended from the mountain. Today, we have some people who like to go up mountains to pray and they will use the climbing as a penitential act and they would also fast. There is something beautiful about this, as long as it is not done from a superstitious point of view, with the mentality that one recieves some kind of mysterious powers on mountains.
Nonetheless, mountains have great spiritual significance. They remind us that nothing good comes easy. God tells us that on the mountain, we will be fed with rich food, and to us catholics, going to church is climbing a mountain, even when the church is on a plain ground. To think that Churches must be built on mountains is superstitious. Anybody who tries to attend mass daily or to pray the divine office consistently or to visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament daily, or to go for confession regularly, such a person is climing a mountain, because it is not easy to wake up and do the same thing everyday. There are days when you will wake up and you dont feel like going to church, and you want to use the snooze; your ability to still get up and get going is a mountain. So you dont really need to go looing for geographical mountains to climb. If you do, let it be a symbol of our life in Christ.
God is love, and even when life feels like climbing a mountain in a sick condition, only to be left hungry on the same mountain, this season of advent reminds us that Jesus is climbing the same mountain with us and He is with us, and He will heal all our sicknesses, and He will feed us, until we are abundantly satisfied. He is our shepherd and He can never abandon His own. Even in the face of a big mountain, remember the love of God, believe it and know that He has great plans for you, plans for good and not of evil.