by Paul Robson sj
Being from Winnipeg, I’m used to flat lands and I like that type of setting. I might argue, jokingly, that the prairies are better than hills and mountains, according to the Bible. After all, today’s readings speak about a time when, according to God’s plan, “every mountain and hill shall be made low.”
Of course, plains and hills and mountains are all wonderful and beautiful parts of God’s creation. What were the biblical writers trying to say, then, when they spoke of mountains being made low?
Some of the Old Testament prophets, including Isaiah and Baruch, can be understood as writing about the return from exile of the people of Israel, to their homeland. Imagine, if you will, two paths for the people through the desert. One has many bends in the road and is hilly, and the road is rough. The other road is straight and smooth and flat. It is the second road which makes for an easier walk. The image of that second road can signify that, if the LORD God is leading the way, then the way will be easy. Or, perhaps, the rough road will still be rough, but the journey is somehow made easier through the presence and guidance of the LORD.
The same might be said for us, on our journeys through life. There might be something in our lives that is an imposing obstacle, like a mountain. Prayer and trust in God can make that mountain low, or at least manageable.
These days we wait for Christmas, for the celebration of the coming of Jesus into the world. This birth of Jesus was a major event, part of God’s great plan for making ways smooth and paths straight. Let us wait for that special day with hope and anticipation!