A Great Light
It’s been a month since Christmas, when we heard those stirring images from the prophet Isaiah in praise of God: The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…The yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, and the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed. This weekend’s liturgy reprises this text, framing Matthew’s account of the call of the first disciples, as the summons of the Incarnation at Christmas resounds into Ordinary Time.
Taken together, Isaiah and Matthew present the mission of the Messiah as the distribution of power and light. In other words, Jesus entrusts us with the energy of divine love.
All this was captured in a memory that came to me, like Isaiah, a month ago at Christmas, which I shared at Mass. As a boy in Atlanta, Georgia, whenever I’d ride my bike home from school I was always confronted by a very steep hill that began at the bottom of a one-block street called Nacoochee Drive. I attacked the slope straight on and worked up quite a sweat huffing and puffing on my three-speed bike. One day my older brother, riding next to me, showed me another approach: if I steered my bike up the hill on a slant, zigzagging from one side of the street to the other, the effort became manageable and I wasn’t exhausted at the end of the climb. My life was changed.
Jesus summons us to see life differently. Through the humbling wisdom of the cross, we learn to climb the hill of love as human beings, little by little. “God writes straight with crooked lines,” my grandmother used to say. In the grace of the Incarnation, I can too. In fact, like those zigzag fishermen, I’m learning: it’s the only way to go.
Fr. Dan ofm, Pastor