Intention: That in this season of hospitality and generosity, all of us will make a special place for those whose lives are wounded by need, misfortune or injustice.
Today’s Gospel | Luke 7:18b-23
At that time, John summoned two of his disciples and sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” When the men came to the Lord, they said, “John the Baptist has sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?’” At that time Jesus cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits; he also granted sight to many who were blind. And Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
A Reflection for the Third Wednesday of Advent
Today’s Gospel presents us with an interesting and rather startling picture. It is of John the Baptist, sending word from his prison cell to his followers to ask his cousin, Jesus, “Are you really the one who is to come?” Why would the hand-chosen precursor of the Messiah ask this? How is it possible that John would not know? Perhaps this dramatic moment is not really about John at all. One of the reasons that John figures so prominently in the Advent season’s readings is that he represents the long, almost unbearable anticipation of an entire people for the arrival of God’s Kingdom. His question would have echoed ages of disappointment and doubt. It would have represented the brittle faith of a tentative people. And like them, we today continue to hesitate to embrace the Good News. We probe at its edges, looking for the safe places to enter, more trusting of our own pathways than of God’s. Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wrote, “When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” It is up to us to give ourselves fully to the miracle of the Incarnation and the fullness of the Gospel. The time of Advent is a time to replace the question, “Are you the one who is to come?” with the question, “When will we be the ones who follow?”
Eternal Father, even in this Advent time, we can find it hard to stop worrying about our own needs. Open our hearts to the grace that we need to trust and to let go. Help us to overcome our insecurities and our fears and welcome your healing and peace. May we celebrate your Son’s birth by saying yes to his call to build and serve your Kingdom. We ask this of you who lives and reigns with your Son and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.