Isaiah prophesied that God's people will be mountain climbers who will scale the mountain of war and attain peace. "One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again" (Is 2:4). In choosing this reading, the Church is encouraging us to make this Advent, Christmas season, and new year a time of unprecedented peace.
In today's Gospel, we are presented with a totally different picture. We see a boy "at home in bed paralyzed, suffering painfully" (Mt 8:6) — in no condition to climb mountains.
Which one will we be this new year: the mountain climber or the paralyzed? Even if we are paralyzed now in any way, by faith we can be healed for mountain climbing. By that same faith, we can climb even a mighty mountain.
In fact, many of us face a range of mountains. Some of these mountains must be moved rather than climbed (see Mt 17:20). Yet the same faith by which we accepted God's healing will empower us to climb, and even move, mountain after mountain. Isaiah prophesied of our new year: "Every mountain and hill shall be leveled. The windings shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God" (Lk 3:5-6; Is 40:3ff).