My message was an attempt to be helpful: Make a left after you pass the cows in the field on the corner. I was driving to a wedding at a town in the upper northwest corner of rural New Jersey. A friend and his wife were a half hour behind in their car. The cell phone network was poor, so my message didn’t go through. Traveling unfamiliar roads and with crude written directions, we each found the way. Later at dinner, we agreed the location was not on your way to anywhere, no matter where you’re going.
The prophet Micah saw where the people of his time were headed morally and spiritually. They were on their way to nowhere. Much of his writing is a harsh criticism of the religious and civil leaders of the day. The message of faith didn’t reach the people due to the injustice and religious hypocrisy of those leaders. Micah does his best to deliver the message: The way we are called to live is through justice, mercy, and the humility to let God join our journey.
The hopes and fears of all the years, are met in thee tonight.Micah foresaw the little town of Bethlehem as the location where God would join the human journey in a new way. In his life, Jesus would meet those hopes and fears, with justice, mercy, and humility. No matter where people were headed in life, he would meet them, and help them find the way.
You might find yourself singing that carol about Bethlehem in the coming days. As you sing, may your thoughts move from the image of a sleepy village to the image of an ancient prophet. He reminds us the child of Bethlehem desires not warm, sentimental thoughts or feelings. Jesus comes to break through the darkness with justice, mercy, and love. That is why He is called “the Way.”
[This concludes the journey that the Aleteia community has taken this Advent with Old Testament pilgrims. We hope their lives and these reflections have brought all of us to the Christ Child. Find all the reflections here.]