Monday of the Second Week in Advent
(Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26)
Not too long ago Lake Erie was declared “dead.” It was not that there was no life within it but that its living specimens had become odious and toxic to the people on its shores. Human-produced pollutants caused the dismal condition. It turned into a national emergency when the pollutants caused the Cuyahoga River emptying into the lake to catch fire. Since that time with bi-national cooperation the pollutants have been reduced, and Lake Erie has recovered some of its vitality. The reading from Isaiah today describes a similar regeneration taking place in nature.
Isaiah imagines the Messianic age with streams bursting through the desert sands and wastelands becoming veritable recreation parks. He presents a fitting metaphor for Jesus whom the gospel shows bestowing salvation by healing the people both spiritually and physically. It may seem peculiar to compare Jesus with an eco-system, but such an image conveys the healthy relationships that his presence engenders. He saves us today precisely by making his grace available through the sacraments. They too are like eco-systems into which we should seek immersion with all our hearts.