The great prophet Isaiah, very early on in his book (2:1-5), prophesies about Judah and Jerusalem. He foresees a day when the people will climb a mountain to the Lord to be instructed in truth and thus to be able to follow His will by staying on the straight and narrow.
Well, the centuries of longing ended with the advent of Jesus Christ. How often do we hear in the Gospels about Jesus preaching and teaching from a high place (most famously the lengthy Sermon on the Mount)? We are of course reminded of the Exodus story of Moses being summoned by God to work his way up Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17). Just so, multitudes came to Jesus on mountains where they heard proclaimed the Good News from a man who claimed the right to give new commandments (Jn 13:34).
Unfortunately, not unlike their forebears (particularly during the Golden Calf debacle, but all through history), most everyone who heard Jesus abandoned Him when difficulties arose. Listening to God’s instructions and living them is much easier when we are not directly challenged about such matters, or when it means embarrassment or even danger to ourselves.
We ought not forget the eschatological aspect either. The Navarre Bible commentary for this passage reminds us that the “Church uses this text in the liturgy of the firs Sunday in Advent, encouraging us to look forward to the second coming of Christ as we prepare for his first coming at Christmas.” (54) We recall Jesus’ coming two thousand years ago, we anticipate His final coming in glory, all the meanwhile inviting Him to fill us more completely with His graces so that we can better tread the “constricted…road that leads to life” (Mt 7:14).
Dear Lord, please strengthen me for the battle against sin, Satan, and death. May I walk the narrow road that leads to salvation by adhering to God’s laws more out of love for Him than in fear of what could happen to me.