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Monday, December 4, 2000

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St. John Damascene

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Matthew 8:5-11

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shakers and movers

"Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain." —Isaiah 2:3

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). But 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).

Prayer:  Father, may I let You make the new year the best year of my life. May the Great Jubilee conclude with world-wide peace.

Promise:  "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks." —Is 2:4

Praise:  St. John Damascene's writings on such mysteries of the Christian faith as the Incarnation and the Real Presence in the Eucharist have echoed for centuries.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000