By Fr Robert Barron (www.wordonfire.org)
The prophet Isaiah was someone who felt and brought to articulate expression the Advent attitude of yearning. He gives us, in the second chapter of his book, an image which has burned its way into the consciousness of believers up and down the centuries. That image is of God’s holy mountain, the place where the deepest longings of the heart are fulfilled: “In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills.”
This vision is of the future; it is not here, but it is coming, held out to us as a realistic hope. And what is the substance of it? That the mountain of the Lord’s house will be highest.
That mountain is Zion, where the temple of Yahweh was situated. It was the place of right praise.
On the biblical reading, the key to happiness is nothing other than right praise, worship of the true God. For when we give glory to God in the highest, we rightly order all of our desires: we love God first and then all other things for the sake of God. Bad praise – getting this order out of whack – is always what goes wrong with us. It’s the result of allowing wealth, or pleasure, or power, or honor to become the highest mountain.
But when the worship of the true God is established as the highest mountain, then it will function as a magnet, drawing all people to itself. This beautiful image – all of the tribes and nations streaming toward Zion – haunted and continues to haunt the religious imagination of believers all over the world.
We pray “Glory to God in the highest and peace to his people on earth.” That is a spiritual formula: when God is given glory in the highest, then peace will obtain among us here below.