Saturday, November 22, 2014

Our Lord Jesus Christ, Universal King (Matthew 25:31-46) Power in weakness


 In the book of the Apocalypse (also known as Revelations) Saint John at one stage has a vision of a being that terrifies him.  He describes what he saw like this:
…I saw one like a Son of man… His head and his hair were white with the whiteness of wool, like snow, his eyes like a burning flame, his feet like burnished bronze… out of his mouth came a sharp sword, double edged, and his face was like the sun shining with all its force (Rev 1:13-16).

John writes that he was so afraid when he saw this being that he fell down as if dead.  But then the being in the vision touched him and said: ‘Do not be afraid; it is I, the First and the Last; I am the Living One, I was dead and look—I am alive for ever and ever and I hold the keys of death and the underworld’ (Rev 1:17-18). 

Who was this being?  It was of course Jesus, the one with whom John had lived for three years.  Why would Jesus who was so close to John, appear to him in this frightening form?  Probably to remind John and us, who he is.  Not just the Jesus whose name we carelessly throw around as a swear word, but Jesus who is Son of God, who will come to judge the living and the dead.  This is the one we believe in.  When we die we will all come before him face to face and all people of every religion will understand who He is and what He has done for us.

At the moment we are seeing huge changes in the world around us.  So much earthly power which seemed to be untouchable has collapsed over night.  Even the great structures of the Church seem to be crumbling.  In many ways it is a very disturbing, even frightening time.  But I think that we need to remember who it is we believe in and who it is we put our trust in.  If we put our trust and hope in earthly power we will be disappointed, as we know only too well, because people will let us down.  If we rely too much on the human side of our Church we will be disappointed, as we have been.  But the one we trust in and believe in is Jesus Christ who is God.  All things are in his power and all things are completely subject to him. 

Sometimes you get the impression especially from Hollywood, that the battle between good and evil, between God and Satan, is an equal one.  It is not.  There is no question of evil being equal to God.  All things are subject to God and I think we need to be reminded of that.

As a priest—especially at the moment—I need to keep reminding myself that Jesus is the one I worship as God and try to serve.  If I stay focused on the world around me I find myself getting depressed or disillusioned.  Also if I spend too much time worrying about the state of the Church I also find it hard to keep going.  But the Lord keeps reminding me that He is the one I need to stay focused on, because He is the one in charge.  He is master of all things.  What we see happening in the Church at the moment is the work of his power purifying his Church, because He loves us and will not allow his people to continue with poison festering under the skin.  And so He allows his Church to be purified and renewed, which is what we see happening.  I have no doubt that what is happening in the world is also a kind of melt-down that God is allowing which will bring many people back to him.  There is nothing like a crisis to focus the mind!

When people have a certain amount of power they like to show it off and make it felt.  People who are really powerful don’t seem to feel the need to show it off as much.  But God who is all-powerful, goes one step further and shows his power in weakness.  This is an extraordinary thing and something we find very difficult to get our heads around.

The greatest demonstration of God’s power was shown to us in the death of Jesus on the cross.  God did the exact opposite of what we would do and showed his power by not doing anything; by appearing to be a failure.  So the people laughed at him and mocked him, not realising that what they looked at was a demonstration of the power of God.  This is why we use the symbol of the cross and why it is so powerful.  This is also why Satan hates the symbol of the cross, because it is a symbol of the extraordinary power of God and it is a reminder of the event that broke the power of sin and death. 

St. Paul in the first letter to the Corinthians says,
We are preaching Christ crucified; to the Jews an obstacle that they cannot get over, to the pagans madness, but to those who have been called, whether they are Jew or Greeks, a Christ who is the power and the wisdom of God (1Cor 1:22).

What the power of Jesus on the cross also shows us is that in the bleakest and darkest situations of pain and suffering, loneliness and abandonment, Christ is there with us, in his strength.  We are never alone no matter what we are going through.  God is with us.

Jesus Christ is our king, the most powerful king on earth. If we accept him as our king, we also share in his power, but it is not a power as we normally understand it and this is why many people find it hard to accept.  We want something that we can see and touch.  We want to know that we are important and that our King is the greatest of all.  But God in his wisdom knows that this isn’t the most important kind of power.

If Jesus is Lord and God as we say we believe He is, then we have nothing to be afraid of.

Every being in heaven, on earth and under the earth,
shall bend the knee at the name of Jesus;
and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10-11).




Saturday, November 15, 2014

33rd Sunday Year A (Gospel: Matthew 25:14-30) Parable of the talents


In 1998 in Rome, Pope John Paul II invited 54 different groups within the Church to come together in Rome to celebrate what God is doing for them and to share their experiences.  These were all groups that were started by lay people, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to really try and live the Gospel in daily life.  As a result these movements have now spread all over the world and are continually inspiring people to live as Christians and they are also acting as a powerful witness to many others to put God at the center.  To give you an example, some of these groups are the Focolare movement, Marriage Encounter, L’Arche community, Charismatic Renewal, Cenacolo.  They all have different focuses.  For example Cenacolo is a movement that was started to help people work through addictions, particularly drug addiction.  They have 27 fraternities.  They live quite a monastic lifestyle with no TV, newspapers, or magazines.  Their day to day life is based around prayer and hard work. Over 400,000 people came to Rome that day, representing these different groups.

All over the world this is and has been happening for some time.  God’s Spirit has been moving people to step out and live their faith.  In Ireland in the last 30 years there have been a huge number of prayer groups and all kinds of groups started by lay people.  This is God’s doing, and I think that it’s good for us to remember that it’s going on, because you never hear about it in the papers or on the TV, but it’s happening all around us.  Great things are happening.

The Lord doesn’t wait for the hierarchy of the Church to feel that the time is right, or for lay people to say that we’re ready now.  The Holy Spirit just moves people when the time is right. Of course it’s important that the priests and bishops work with these groups, because that is a sign that they are on the right track, but quite often they are not the ones to start them.

Many people today are saying that the laity should be more involved in the Church and that is very true; but I also think that many lay people frequently overlook one of the most important roles that they have, that you have and that is to bring Jesus to the world in a way that priests and religious can not: in the work place and in the home, when you go out shopping and socialising.  This is one of your most important tasks, which we priests can not do and it is absolutely essential that it is done, because there are so many people today who have lost sight of God and are crying out to him, but don’t know where to look.  If you, who believe in God, don’t bring your faith with you, then all the people you work and live with may not find out about God. People need to experience Christianity as lived out by ordinary people. This is where you come into your own as lay people.  You can bear witness to Christ by the way you live.  You don’t have to open your mouth, just live your faith.  I’m sure some of you have experienced this already, the more you live what you believe, the more it speaks to people and gets quite a lot of reaction, because we all constantly observe each other and notice each other.  And if you live your faith, you will be different and you will be attractive, because God is attractive, holiness is attractive.  That’s why all these lay groups have borne such fruit, because God is behind them, so they attract people.

Another reason I believe, why the Lord has inspired people to start all these different groups is to help each of us to realise that it is possible to live as God asks us to live.  Many people today don’t believe that any more, which is why so many have turned their back on the Church, because they think that it’s silly and unrealistic, just something to help you when you’re old or sick.  But God is showing us that this isn’t so, by inspiring people all over the world to really live the Gospel, to live by the teachings of Christ.  And of course it’s possible, and it’s not just for priests and religious either.  We have our part to play and it’s important, but so is your role and all that God has in mind for you to do. 

Today's Gospel reading refers to this too.  God is saying to us that we all have potential to develop what He has given us.  No one is exempt.  But just be careful that you are not the one who is quite happy just to hand back what you got having done nothing with it.  That is the person who says ‘I’m alright thanks very much, I’m not going to bother anyone else, and let no one bother me.’  If that’s our attitude, if we are happy with the absolute minimum, we must be careful, because then we are the ones that Jesus is pointing the finger at.

When we die and meet the Lord Jesus we will only be accountable for ourselves and our own actions, so let us make the most of what God has given us.  The best thing any of us can do, is to bring our faith with us to work and wherever we are. 

 


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica (Gospel: John 2:13-22) On the priesthood


Today we celebrate the feast of the dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome. It is the official church of the Pope, even though the Pope lives in the Vatican at St. Peters basilica. Celebrating the dedication of the Lateran Basilica is a recognition of the unity of all churches throughout the world with our mother church in Rome.

Perhaps one of the strangest things that Jesus did before he ascended to heaven at the end of his earthly life, was to entrust his Church to priests; ordinary, sinful, weak human beings.  This is something that we do not understand, but we believe.  Through the gift of the priesthood He gave us the most extraordinary gift of all, the gift of the Eucharist, which is the gift of Jesus himself really and truly present in the form of bread and wine.  There is no gift greater than this.  But the fact that he made it depend on priests is what is so strange.

I am sure that one reason in particular why he did this was to make it obvious that it is God who is at work and that the Church is in no way dependent on the gifts or skills of human beings alone, especially not us priests.

There is a great story in the Old Testament which explains this; it is the story of Gideon.  Gideon and his people were being wiped out by the Amorites and it was a time of great suffering for them.  Then one day the angel of the Lord appears to this man Gideon and says, ‘Hail valiant warrior.  The Lord is with you.’  In reply Gideon says, ‘If God is with us how come we are being wiped out?’  A fair question!  The angel goes on to tell Gideon that God has specially chosen him to lead his people to freedom from their enemies.  But Gideon asks an interesting question.  He says, ‘Why would God pick me since I am the weakest member of my family and my family is the weakest family in my tribe?’  In other words, why would God pick the weakest of the weak to lead his people to freedom?  It doesn’t make any sense by our way of thinking.  But then the angel convinces him that God has chosen him and he will be alright.  Gideon is then told to raise an army and so he gets together 30,000 men.  But then to his astonishment God tells him to reduce the number of men to only 300 and he tells him why, and this is the crucial bit: lest the people think that it is by their own strength that they have won victory over their enemies.  God chooses the weakest man around with only a handful of men to conquer the enemy so that it will be obvious that it was the power of God that made this happen. If Gideon had been a great warrior and he conquered his enemies with a huge army, then no one would be surprised.  But when the most unexpected person leads a handful of men and conquers a huge army, then everyone says ‘Look what God did!  It’s a miracle.’

I believe that God chooses various men to be priests for the same reason, so that it would be obvious that it is God who is at work.  So He picks weak men to make it all the more obvious that the Church is still there because of him and not because of us priests.

It is said that when Napoleon Bonaparte was taking over Europe he met the cardinal of Paris and he said to him, ‘I am going to destroy the Vatican.’  The cardinal assured him that he wouldn’t be able.  But Napoleon insisted: ‘You will see; I will wipe it out completely.’  But the cardinal said: ‘We priests have been trying to destroy it for the last 1800 years and we haven’t been able! So you wont be able either.’

Perhaps one of the most extraordinary things of all about the priesthood is that the Holy Spirit of God obeys the words of the priest.  When the priest says the words of consecration at each mass the Holy Spirit immediately and humbly obeys the words of the priest and changes the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.  I don’t understand this but I believe it.  And when the priest says I absolve you from all your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit immediately wipes away those sins.  God is so humble that He will obey the words of a human being.
Jesus said to Peter:
You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of the underworld will never hold out against it. Whatever you bind on earth will be considered bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be considered loosed in heaven.


What if the priest is not a very good man or is in fact quite a sinner?  Is God any less present in the mass if the priest is not a holy man?  Of course not.  God would never allow his power to depend on the goodness of a human being because none of us could ever be good enough or holy enough.  Even if the priest is a terrible sinner, God is just as powerfully present in the mass, in confession, and wherever He calls the priest to work.  Of course it is a great help for our faith if the priest is a holy man, but either way God is just as much present, because God gives himself completely to all of us in this extraordinary way through the priesthood and it doesn’t depend on the priest being good enough.  Thank God!

I think one of the greatest proofs that the Church is from God is simply the fact that it is still here in spite of the fact that there have been centuries of bad example, bad preaching, scandal, etc, and yet it is still here.  How can this be? Because it is the power of God at work in his Church. There is so much we don't understand about how God works among us, but we believe that God continually gives us everything we need and one of the greatest gifts He has given us is the priesthood, because without the priesthood we would not have the Eucharist.





Thursday, October 30, 2014

Commemoration of all the Faithful Departed (All Souls) The souls of the just are in the hands of God



  Today we remember all those who have gone before us in death. For most if not all of us, death is probably the hardest thing that we have to face. It is cruel because it brings up so many questions and gives us so few answers and worst of all, the person we love is snatched from us and we can no longer communicate with them. We don’t know where they are, or how they are, although we believe that they are with God, but we don't know exactly what this means.

We are never ready for someone to die, even if they have been sick for a long time.  However I think it’s good to remember that although a person’s death comes as a shock to us, it is not a surprise to God.  The Lord had been expecting them. From all eternity God has known the exact moment when they would die. To me that thought always puts things in perspective. It reminds me that there is something bigger going which we often lose sight of.  All things are in the Lord’s hands.

When someone dies we try to remember the good things about them.  We generally don’t talk about their faults, but we remember all the goodness that was in them and it is good that we do that.  All of us hope to be remembered for the good we do rather than the mistakes we make.  Having happy memories of someone is really a great compliment to them, because it tells us that there was great goodness in them, as there is in most people. 

The purpose of our life on earth is to learn how to love and to serve and then hopefully to chose to love and serve. God has given us the freedom to do either. All of us, no matter what our life situation, have the same opportunities to love and serve. Even if we are living on the street in miserable circumstances or the president of a big company, we still have the possibility to love and serve. It starts with the people around us, who can often be the most difficult to love.

In the western world because of better conditions and standards of living, which is a wonderful thing, it is very easy to lose sight of death and the purpose of our life. We are continually given the impression that this world is all about trying to make ourselves as comfortable as possible and to acquire as much as possible for ourselves and our children. There is nothing wrong with trying to have a good standard of living, but it is so important that we realize that this is not the primary purpose of our life. In the more developed countries even death is quite removed from us and often dressed up in ‘sweetness’ where we hardly get to see the person who has died and the ugliness of death. In poorer countries people are often more in tune with the reality of death because they are being faced with it in a very real way all the time. While this might seem cruel, it is probably a lot healthier from a spiritual point of view, as it keeps us in tune with the shortness of our life and reminds us that our life here on earth is by no means the whole picture.

There is a lovely line in St. Paul’s first letter to the Christians in Corinth which reads: ‘If our hope in Christ has been for this life only, we are of all people the most to be pitied’ (1 Cor 15:19).  The whole point of what we believe in is that not only is there a life after this one, but that this is what God has created us for and offers to us.  It is up to us if we choose it or not.  The death and resurrection of Jesus has made eternal life possible for us. We believe that we will see our loved ones again if they have chosen for God in this life and most people do. We choose for God by the way we live and not just by the practice of a particular religion. This also reminds us that those who have never heard of Jesus or Christianity have the same chance of eternal life as the rest of us. It primarily depends on the choices we make throughout our life for good or evil, for God or against God.  Our belief in the world to come is what gives us hope, the hope that something wonderful awaits us and that the struggles we go through here on earth, which are part of what helps us grow into better people, are worth while.

The difficult part for us is that we are left behind with so many questions and so few answers.  Why do people get sick?  Why do good people suffer?  What happens after death? and so on.  But Jesus’ words in the Gospels remind us to trust him and to believe that God will make sense of it eventually.  It doesn’t make sense to us now, but it doesn’t have to.  That is part of the struggle of faith, that so much doesn’t make sense.  It would be so much easier if we could see where our loved ones are now, but for now that is hidden from us.  We trust and hope in what Jesus has taught us and this is what helps us to keep going. For now we do our best to love and serve and believe.

The souls of the just are in the hands of God



Saturday, October 25, 2014

30th Sunday Year A (Gospel: Matthew 22:34-40) You must love the Lord your God above all else... and your neighbour as yourself




I remember hearing the story of an attorney in the US who had no time for religion.  Each morning as he drove to work he would pass an old woman in his neighbourhood who was on her way to mass.  He would usually pass her as she made her way up a steep hill near the church.  This hill was difficult for her because it was very steep, but she was determined to get to mass.  In his mind he laughed at her and at the stupidity of those who waste their time with such things as religion. 

One morning in winter it was quite icy and as he headed off to work he didn’t expect to see the woman as the paths were dangerous.  Then to his astonishment he passed her making her way up the steep hill on her hands and knees.  The mass meant so much to this woman that she would get there no matter what.  Apparently this brought about his conversion, he was so shocked at what he saw.

In recent years many people have dropped away from going to church or to mass.  Many younger people especially don’t seem to be able to relate to organised religion.  In one way I am not at all surprise at this, because it has been presented in such a negative way.  So often the Church is seen as an oppressive organisation which is obsessed with rules, regulations and strange rituals.  Who would want to be part of such a thing?  I certainly wouldn’t if that was how I saw it.  I believe what many people are searching for is an authentic experience of God, which must come before rules and regulations.  For many people, this is what is missing. Once our relationship with God begins to grow, then the rules and regulations begin to fit into place, but it cannot be the other way around.

It is tempting to think that it is all over for the Church and organised religion, and that it is only a matter of time before it is gone.  This would be true if it came down to human power only, but remember that behind what we can see is the power of God at work.  Whenever the Church seems to be going ‘stale’, or seems to be less inspiring for people, God raises up men and women who inspire us again and to point us in the right direction. 

A few years ago I read a book called The Heavenly Man about a young man in China to whom God began speaking when he was just sixteen.  He was born in 1958, which means he is only 56 today.  This man Yun, was not a Christian and knew hardly anything about God, but God revealed himself to him and used him to start spreading the Christian faith in China.  He suffered terrible persecution from the authorities, who did everything they could to try and stop him.  He was imprisoned several times and at this stage lives outside of China.  Although he came from an extremely poor background and had almost no education, God filled this man with such fire that thousands of people all over China came to believe in God through him.  People were very inspired by him because his faith was obviously something alive and on fire. That kind of faith is always contagious.  He is just one example of the many ways that God puts life back into his Church.  

Another way it seems to be happening today is through a mystic I mentioned a few months back known as Anne a lay apostle.  Through her a whole movement has started which is known as Direction for Our Times and that's exactly what it is. She is a mother of six, and through her books many people are also being inspired to grow in their relationship with God.  Since 2005 when her writings started to be published, over one million copies have already been sold worldwide and her writings have already been translated into numerous languages.  They can hardly keep up with the demand.  The reason why this is happening is because we need inspiration and so the Lord God sends us the people we need to help us.

The one thing that is striking about all these different people and how God uses them, is that people are reintroduced to God through a relationship with him.  The experience of God has to come first and then the various rules begin to fit into place, because then and only then, people want to know how they are supposed to live that relationship.

How does this apply to us?  Well first I think it is good to know that all these people are being inspired so that we don’t become discouraged.  It is also a reminder of how close the Lord is to us and looking after our needs. What we are called to do is to live our faith as well as we can.  If God is at the heart of all that we do, then we are constantly bearing witness to the people around us.  Our love for God has to be in the first place. Everything else comes from this. 
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.

The more difficult challenge for us is to be able to love, respect and be tolerant of the people around us, who can often be challenging and difficult. However, the strength and ability to love and respect the people around us comes from our relationship with God. That’s why the commandment to love God has to be first. The more our relationship with God develops, the more we are enabled to love the people around us. We need grace, or what you might call divine help to do this. That is why we keep returning to mass each week, to be guided and inspired by the word of God and then to receive the Eucharist—Jesus himself—into our own bodies. With this divine strength and help we are enabled to love the people around us.
You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind...and your neighbour as yourself.


Saturday, October 18, 2014

29th Sunday of year A (Gospel: Matthew 22:15-21) ‘Who do you belong to?’


I always smile when I hear this Gospel because it reminds me so much of what you hear on the TV and radio when someone being interviewed is pushed into a corner and the journalist tries to force them to give a yes or no answer. ‘Do you agree with this proposal or not, yes or no?’ They try to catch people out. They were doing the same thing 2000 years ago at the time of Jesus too. Should we pay taxes or not; yes or no? If Jesus answered yes he was acknowledging the Roman occupation, if he said no, he was insulting the emperor. But in his wisdom he gives a response which completely catches them out because he looks at it from a totally different perspective. He basically says, ‘Who do you belong to?’ It is right that we respect the laws and customs of the country we live in, but if we see ourselves as children of God primarily, then our loyalty belongs to God first. We pay our debts to our society and government through taxes and working to make it a better society because we have a duty to do so, but our goal is a much greater one than this world. Using our gifts and talents gives glory to the Father in heaven who has given us all these gifts. And it is good that we develop our talents to the best of our ability.

We often hear about the importance of protecting and saving American lives and trying to improve the American economy and there is nothing wrong with that.  But a Christian perspective reaches farther and so we talk about the importance of protecting human lives, not just people who belong to one country or another. We take pride in our own nation and so we should, but faith transcends borders and doesn’t, or certainly shouldn’t discriminate between different people. We see ourselves as children of God first, regardless of where we come from and regardless of what we believe. Ultimately we believe we will end up in the same place with God if we make that choice.

Coming here to the US from Ireland has helped me to see that in a new light. I take pride in my country as all of us do, but it is a wonderful thing to be able to go to another country and preach the same message of Jesus there, regardless of different customs and laws. The laws of God don’t change. The call of Jesus is the same to us no matter where we come from and how we see the world and there is a great freedom in that. Politics changes and governments come and go, but the presence of Jesus is the same everywhere and is much greater than anything we will ever encounter in this world.

Who do we belong to? The money is stamped with a government mark. It belongs to the government. What stamp is on us? 

Sometimes one of the things that happens when we are faced with something like Ebola and all these other frightening things around the world, is that they make us sit up and listen. We suddenly start thinking about what is really important. If one of your children or someone close to you becomes sick, the things that we consider important usually change drastically. We ask different questions and probably more important ones. Who do I belong to? What is my life on earth about? Is it just about acquiring as many comforts and material things as possible, or are these things really trivial? When we are faced with possible catastrophies they help us to listen and hear what is important.

Who do I belong to?




Saturday, October 11, 2014

28th Sunday Year A (Gospel: Matthew 22:1-14) Our faith gives us hope



 About a year after I was ordained there was a TV program which interviewed four priests asking them about their experience of priesthood and the Church.  I was one of the priests.  The reason why I mention it is because I was really struck by the response that I got from people afterwards.  Many of the people who wrote to me or phoned me were priests and they nearly all had the same thing to say; they were delighted to hear people being so positive about the Church.  They were greatly encouraged.  It gave them hope.

It really made me think to myself just how much we need to have hope at the moment.  We need a reason to get up in the morning.  We need a reason to keep going when we are struggling and most people are struggling a lot of the time.  The reason for our hope is that we believe in God and in what God has promised us.  We hear so much bad news, how many people have been killed, where the latest war is.  A phrase I keep hearing on the news these days is, ‘So just how worried should we be?’   Is it any wonder so many young people have committed suicide in the last few years.  They have lost hope, they feel there is nothing to live for and this is very sad.

When you look around you at the moment it would be easy to think that God has lost the battle and that Satan has won.  Evil has been victorious and God has been defeated. Could this be possible?  In the beginning of St. John’s Gospel it says, ‘The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it’ (Jn 1.6).

The first reading of the mass is a reading of great hope. It is often used at funerals.  It is the promise that God has great things in store for us.  ‘The Lord will prepare a banquet for his people’.  A party, a feast, this is what God has in store for us and we are all the time preparing for that feast, which we call heaven.

When we try to see things through the eyes of faith, we see something different.  It doesn’t mean everything is suddenly alright, and all our problems are gone, but it does give us a different perspective.  We also begin to realise that much of what seemed impossible before is no longer impossible, because we don’t rely on our own strength, but on God’s power to help us.

Our hope is in God and that’s why even if someone is suffering terribly, or sick, or even if they die, we don’t despair, because we know that God has not abandoned us.  We believe that we will see them again. That is the hope our faith gives us.

The Gospel today talks about the wedding feast to which all of us are invited. But then there is the strange part where the King sees a man who has managed to get in without a wedding garment and he is thrown out. What does this mean? One way to understand it is that we cannot take it for granted, or be indifferent about coming into God’s kingdom, about heaven. We have to consciously make a choice for God and we have to try and live accordingly, trying to live as we are asked, making an effort to live as the Lord asks us to. Indifference is not an option and Jesus was very strong about this in his teaching. All of us must make a choice.
 
On this mountain the LORD of hosts
will provide for all peoples
a feast of rich food and choice wines,
juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
the veil that veils all peoples,
the web that is woven over all nations;
he will destroy death forever.