It’s Advent Day-4. I reflect on the symbolism of the mountain as a place of divine revelation, and the Church as its true meaning.
The Great Invitation
The prophecy of Isaiah 25:6 sets the ecstatic tone of God’s invitation to us: “On this mountain, the Lord of hosts will provide for all peoples.”
Nothing could be more lavish and thrilling than the Lord preparing a menu for you and me. The menu beats anything you could fathom.
The chef is the Lord. The recipe for each item on the menu is his life and blood. The food is the Lord himself, for he declares, “the food I give is my flesh for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
The Lord prepares the table for all people—an open invitation. “Come to me all you who are weary and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). God desires all to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).
The table is the plane of grace that the Lord sets and extends to those willing to embrace it and participate in the Feast of the Lamb.
Why On the Mountain?
The invitation’s location is fascinating because it is on the mountain. Are you surprised about this? The mountain isn’t easily accessible to everyone, is it? Why not a tableland so passersby can stray onto it without stress? easy? feel good? pampered?
First, the mountain has rich symbolism in biblical times. Hanson’s extensive review shows us the four meanings as applied in The Gospel of Matthew. It symbolizes one or a combination of the following: assembly place of the divine, connection between heaven and earth, the center of the earth, and a location for revelation (1994, Semeia 67, p. 149).
For many, the mountain is also a symbolism of stability and security—for, on the mountain, one stands secure on victory’s vantage point. One sees the terrain and feels safe. One grasps the bigger vision and the bigger picture.
Hence, the Fathers of the Church will attribute this mountain to the body of Christ, the Church, securely established as the locus of ongoing revelation of God’s life in the world. It is on this mountain—secure and safe—under the apostolic pillar (and rock) of whom no gates of the netherworld world destroy, that we find the rich food. In the Church, one perceives the true meaning of things as they emerge from the revealed truths handed down from generations.
Similarly, around the mountain—just like the circle around the orbit of life—everything blooms and flourishes. At the center of this mountain flows the source and summit of life, for Jesus is the cornerstone, who, as in the Gospel of Matthew 15:25-37 sits—symbolizing teaching and leadership authority—feeding us with his word and life. He does the miracle of feeding thousands, which is a pointer to giving his life (the Eucharist) for the life of those who welcome his invitation.
Yes to Abundant Life
At the heart of this mountain, we see the life of God available to us. Thus, we give thanks—Eucharist.
It is around this mountain—on it and through its valley with flourishing graces like streams of living water (Ezekiel 47)—that we find life, safety, and security. In it, we find joy also.
But this mountain of lavish grace needs our yes to climb. It requires the human will to consent to it and the human heart to love it. It requires grace and free will—for grace does the work in us, and free will is our accepting the invitation by grace.
Be sure of this: the invitation is to all. But it requires each individual’s yes. So how have I responded today?
I pray for renewed commitment to love the Lord and his body—the Church—and be nourished each day in the Eucharist. Amen.
God love you. God bless you.