One hundred miles through unsafe mountainous terrain, pregnant, on a donkey, and to make it worse, there was nothing but a bed of hay and stinky animals waiting for them to rest their heads. Not one part of that journey sounds like a good idea. But it was a journey that Joseph and Mary were forced to take due to Caesar’s decree for a census.
Not only were Mary and Joseph on a journey to Bethlehem, they were part of an even bigger journey, the journey of faith. Faith in the Lord’s plans that everything was going to be okay. Faith that they were chosen to be the parents of the Word made flesh. Faith that the Lord was with them every step of the way.
Several years ago, I had the opportunity to take my own journey, not to Bethlehem but to Santiago, Spain - the resting place of the Apostle Saint James. The Camino de Santiago, or the Way of Saint James, is a 495-mile pilgrimage through the Spanish country side. Like Mary and Joseph, my journey was not an easy one it was one full of hardships, trials, physical pain but also a journey filled with faith. A faith that kept me going every step of the way. A faith that has allowed me to continue walking my own faith journey, my own faith camino, even two years after arriving in Santiago.
Along the Camino, I came across a sign that said, “Yo soy el camino, y la verdad, y la vida” or “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” A picture of this sign still hangs in my bedroom as a daily reminder that even though I am no longer journeying to Santiago, I am on a much bigger journey, a journey in which Christ is the way, the way to heaven. And with my faith as my guide, I have discovered the truth and the life by allowing the Lord to enter into my heart. This realization has allowed me to come closer to the Father’s love and mercy.
“I am the way, the truth, and the life.
No one comes to the Father except through me”
Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem is a glimpse into the greater journey, the journey to Jerusalem in which Christ gave his life so that we could have life. But first Mary and Joseph had to “go”, they had to have faith every step along the journey. We are also called to “go”. We are called to have the same faith in the Lord’s journey for our own lives.
Hebrews 11:1 says, “Faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” and when we have faith, we have hope in what is to come, Love in the form of man. As we light the second purple candle this week, let us reflect on the word FAITH. The faith that it took Mary and Joseph to journey to Bethlehem and the faith that it will take us as we continue our journey to heaven. For He is the way, the truth, and the life.