Isaiah prophesied that God's people will be mountain-climbers who will scale the mountain of war and attain peace. "One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again" (Is 2:4). In choosing this reading, the Church is encouraging us to make this Advent, Christmas season, and new year a time of unprecedented peace.
In today's Gospel, we are presented with a totally different picture. We see a boy "at home in bed paralyzed, suffering painfully" (Mt 8:6) — in no condition to climb mountains.
Which one will we be this new year: the mountain-climber or the paralyzed? Even if we are paralyzed now in any way, by faith we can be healed for mountain-climbing. By that same faith, we can climb even a mighty mountain.
In fact, many of us face a range of mountains. Some of these mountains must be moved rather than climbed (see Mt 17:20). But the same faith by which we accepted God's healing will empower us to climb, and even move, mountain after mountain. Isaiah prophesied of our new year: "Every mountain and hill shall be leveled. The windings shall be made straight and the rough ways smooth, and all mankind shall see the salvation of God" (Lk 3:5-6; Is 40:3ff).