Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Two Mountains

The readings at Mass today (Isaiah 25: 6-10 and Matthew 15: 29-37) show us two mountains.

In the Gospel, after walking along the Sea of Galilee, Jesus "went up on the mountain, and sat down there." It says that "great crowds came to him." They included "the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others" in need of healing. How did Jesus look upon them? What went through His heart? After healing them, the Gospel says that Jesus still felt compassion for them because they were hungry. Jesus told us what was going through His heart, saying, "My heart is moved with pity for the crowd." We can just imagine how Jesus, looking upon this sampling of suffering humanity, shared their pain. His human and divine heart felt all that a human can feel in the face of suffering, but with divine intensity. Thus, after healing them, He fed them.

This miracle in which loaves and fish were multiplied in abundance anticipates another meal, the Holy Eucharist. There we are both healed and fed. There we receive healing and food, not just for our physical lives on earth, but for eternal life.

These miracles--the multiplication and the Eucharist--point to the other mountain and another meal described in the first reading: "On this mountain the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples a feast of rich food and choice wines, juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines. 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...." This mountain, where death is destroyed forever, is obviously heaven where there will be a feast never-ending. On that mountain the word "good-bye" does not exist. As St. Augustine wrote: "We shall have no enemies in heaven; we shall never lose a friend."

On this weekday in Advent, the Church wants us to have longing: to long as the heart of Jesus did for healing and a life that will never end; to long for God's holy mountain where every tear will be wiped away. Come Lord Jesus! Take us to that mountain and feast!

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