Greetings on this the Third Sunday of Advent
Readings: IS 35:1-6A, 10; PS 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10; JAS 5:7-10; MT 11:2-11
The Church encourages us today to Rejoice! Maranatha, the Lord has come!
Today we rejoice in the promise of Jesus Christ.
We rejoice in Advent Humility. John the Baptists is first in humility – none greater.
I want to include two scriptural references to aid us today in Rejoicing.
In the Temple
Let us look at the story of Simeon. A righteous and devout man awaiting the consolation of Israel and the holy Spirit was upon him. He was one who contemplated the Lord and dreamed of his person.
Upon seeing Jesus he took him in his arms and said:
Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” The child’s father and mother were amazed at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted (and you yourself a sword will pierce) so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.” Luke 2: 25ff.
At the Covenant at Mount Sinai
For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers’ wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation, on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. Ex 20:5-6
Unpacking this you can easily say:
When we make a mistake God works hard to limit the effects.
When we do good work God makes the good effect last for a thousand generations.
John the Baptist
Following the theme I proposed at the beginning of Advent, we need to dream the dreams of Isaiah.
On this joyous Sunday we remember the dreams John the Baptizer dreamed from his birth and Jesus encourages him to go still further.
How do you read John’s questions? Is John tired? Is he afraid? Was he lacking faith?
Jesus affirms him by reminding him of the dream (prophecy) of Isaiah and that the dream has been actualized.
The blind regain their sight,
the lame walk,
lepers are cleansed,
the deaf hear,
the dead are raised,
and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them (Isa 35 x-ref Mt 11:5).
Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me
John is having a crisis but it isn’t necessarily a misunderstanding or mistrust of Jesus.
It isn’t even that he expected the military freedom some expected the Messiah to bring. This is the current teaching and understanding. Rather John is blessed in that he is taking no offense in Jesus.
John is accusing himself.
John is humbly, if harshly, evaluating his own life’s work.
Does what I have done matter anyway? All this preaching, baptism of repentance, scolding and reproving seems to have developed into nothing good.
Here I sit in prison. Does it even matter?
Jesus affirms John in John’s work. Yes, John, it does matter!!
You, John and you, good reader, are a part of the salvific message. Do not be discouraged. All the good you do is in the power of and the will of the Messiah Jesus. The same power that makes the blind see is the power that makes your good work last for a thousand generations.
Jesus Reveals the Biggest Herald
Jesus reveals what John is actually revealing. We go back to Mount Sinai and the book of Exodus.
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you. (Ex 23:20, Mal 3:1, Matt 11:10)
Jesus, Word/Law, (the Law given on this mountain) is to lead the people to victory not by arms and war but by will and divine power. The person of Jesus is given.
Humility and Adoration of Jesus
John the Baptizer was a very humble man. He was the humblest of them all.
Jesus affirms him and his work by his own power.
Let God multiply your small good by a thousand generations.
Enter into this blessed life.
Peace be with you,