2nd Sunday of Advent
December 9, 2018
“The winding roads shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth, and all flesh shall see the salvation of our God.” Luke 3:6
Jerusalem was a city built on and surrounded by mountains and, once out of the city, is accessed by winding and sometimes rough roads. I remember many years ago I spotted a large white cross up in the mountains (in Los Angeles), and decided to try to drive closer to climb up to it. I began the journey up the mountain which turned out to be a winding, steep, bumpy forest road that went up and up and got narrower and narrower until finally it was only a rough, very narrow dirt path that allowed only one car and no place to turn around! At this point it was impossible to turn around: I was trapped! Was I on the wrong road? What joy I had when I eventually saw a large straight paved highway in the distance.
Most of us, in our life journey will encounter steep, rough roads. Christ promised to deliver us from them, not always in this world, but the next one. For a Christian, what makes the difference is that the road we are on has a destination, and that destination is a person, and the person is someone who really and truly loves us.
During the holidays, many of us go to great lengths to be with people we love. When we have a destination in mind, and someone we love is at the other end of it, and we are really motivated; we can suffer almost any hardship to get there. In the same way, the road to heaven, the road home, can be tough going sometimes. We struggle to do the will of God and with the circumstances we find ourselves in. Jesus wants to be our vision and final destination. In Advent, our destination is the humility of Bethlehem. At the end of our lives the goal is the glory of heaven.
Sometimes the hardships we encounter on the road of life are intended to prove our love for Christ. It is important for our human dignity that we struggle on the road that leads home. Love, then, sometimes consists in what we have been through for someone. By strengthening my relationship with Christ through prayer, Mass, charity, and trying to do the will of God, I strengthen that bond of love that will, in turn, allow me to get through anything on the sometimes rough and winding road of life.