In the vision of Isaiah the prophet which we heard today in the first reading, hope is given, restoration is imminent, rejoicing echoes in the Universe. The desert and parched land will bloom and rejoice. The hands of the feeble will be strengthened and the knees of the weak made firm. The blind will see, the deaf hear, the lame leap, the mute will sing when the glory of the Lord is revealed, when he comes with vindication.
He tells us that a highway will be there, called the holy way. It is for those who have a journey to make, and the redeemed will walk in its way. Those ransomed will return to the Lord and enter Zion singing with everlasting joy. What a vision! What excitement! What an image!
Those same words were part of song that I seem to remember from my days of involvement with the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. That hymn "Therefore the Redeemed of the Lord", a hymn of hand clapping and joy always roused the crowd and lifted the heart. It spoke of light at the end of the tunnel, of strength and courage in moments of weakness, of hope in the most difficult of times.
As I listened to the reading this morning, I felt those same feelings. I wanted to start singing that old song (but then I realized that it was not Lent yet, and the people there did not need punishment that early in the morning, so I resisted). But what we, who are on this JOURNEY to Christ, cannot fail to do is to rejoice in the Lord always as we take this highway to our God.