Monday of the Second Week in Advent
(Isaiah 35:1-10; Luke 5:17-26)
Not too many years 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 contaminants caused the dismal condition. It turned into a national emergency when the pollutants carried by the Cuyahoga River emptying into Lake Erie broke into flames. Since that time with cooperation from Canada 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. His vision makes a fitting metaphor for Jesus whom the gospel shows healing a man both spiritually and physically. It may seem peculiar to compare Jesus with an eco-system, but such an image conveys the life-giving relationships that his presence engenders.
Jesus bestows such relationships on us in the sacraments. In Baptism we become members of his Church which instructs us in his ways. In the Eucharist we are joined even closer to one another and to the Lord himself. Reinforced in these ways, we can turn and assist others in their need for fullness of life.