Gospel Reflection for the 3rd Sunday of Advent – December 15th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on the Catholic Ireland website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?
John in his prison had heard what Christ was doing and he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or have we got to wait for someone else?’ Jesus answered, ‘Go back and tell John what you hear and see; the blind see again, and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised to life and the Good News is proclaimed to the poor; and happy is the man who does not lose faith in me’.
As the messengers were leaving, Jesus began to talk to the people about John: ‘What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swaying in the breeze? No? Then what did you go out to see? A man wearing fine clothes? Oh no, those who wear fine clothes are to be found in palaces. Then what did you go out for? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet: he is the one of whom scripture says: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way before you.
‘I tell you solemnly, of all the children born of women, a greater than John the Baptist has never been seen; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is.’
John the Baptist was a man of passionate commitment to what he believed in. He strongly believed in the coming of the Christ. This man of faith was being tested in that Jesus was a different type of Christ or Messiah from what he expected. He wondered often who the messiah would be. Is this the one to come?
Jesus had his way – tell him what you see. John was a man with a lot of conviction and of truth. He preached what he believed.
Miss the Point?
But he seems to miss the point sometimes. He seemed to miss that Jesus would be found, not in preaching only but in helping others. John preached repentance for sin, Jesus preached the coming of the kingdom.
The blind would see, and the lame would walk – among the signs of Jesus, signs declared by the prophets. John was so concerned with reforming others that he could miss Jesus. But his faith was strong and that is what Jesus was praising.
Pope Francis words: “There is no prayer in which Jesus does not inspire us to do something.” Our faith in Jesus is seen in strong action. The poor are helped as at our pre-Christmas collections. We might ask not what we might get for Christmas but how our Christmas might help others. We might ask that Christmas is happy for others because of us – happy in body with enough food for every family, happy in mind that we know the truth of God’s coming into the world and happy in forgiveness as that is one of God’s biggest gifts.
Donal Neary SJ