OPTION 1: Alban Goodier, in his book entitled The Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ writes about Jesus precursor, St. John the Baptist: “Can we now picture to ourselves the first appearance of the Baptist? He came and stood in the desert by the river, at the gateway leading to Judea, on the very spot that was still hallowed by the memory of the prophet Elias, hard upon the main road along which the busy world had to pass; a weird, uncouth, unkempt, terrible figure, in harmony with his surroundings, of single mind, unflinching, fearing none, a respecter of no person, asking for nothing, to whom the world with its judgments was of no account whatever though he showed that he knew it through and through, all its castes and its colors. He came the censor of men, yet winning men by his utter sincerity; telling them plainly the truth about themselves and forcing them to own that he was right….”
The gospel of today tells us that John the Baptist was in prison. King Herod imprisoned him because St. John told him that his union with Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, is an adulterous one. But from his prison cell, he sends his messengers to ask Jesus Christ if indeed He is the One they are waiting for whose path he had prepared. If Jesus is the One being sent by God, why is it that the holy judgment is not yet happened? Why are all evil people going unpunished? St. John, even if he is in his prison cell like the Jewish people, expected a powerful and mighty king: a king who would establish his sovereign reign and pass judgment on sinners by throwing them into the eternal damnation.
The response of Jesus invites John and his followers to go beyond their expectations of a triumphant Messiah with all His mighty and honor. Here we can reflect that the task of the Messiah is, first and foremost, not to render judgment but to bring the message of hope and love, to bring the good news to the poor and the suffering.
But sad to say, as Father Apalisok said in his homily book, that when we experience trials and doubts, we are disgusted because God does not use His great power. God is not capable of doing the magic of cutting corners and making things easy for us. We would rather like to believe that our ways are better than God’s ways. This is the reason why we trust more our own power because we can do wonders for others and ourselves immediately. In short, we are but appointing ourselves as our own personal saviors.
Nowadays, through Internet, we can have huge information and facts which are real and can be available to us anytime we want them. We can have our cellular phones and contact immediately the person whom we want to talk to in just few seconds. If you are observant enough, even if we are at the Mass our cellular phones are still on while the Mass is going on. When somebody calls or text us, we rise up, go outside and respond to the call. Now you see how we give less importance to God and His message. Also, praying to God and ask Him of what we want, takes days or months or years before it will be granted to us. It is a sad fact.
Another fact is that sometimes people believe a fortuneteller for she seems to have a special knowledge or they allow their decisions to be dictated by writers of horoscope.
Long time ago, a Rabbi was said to have knocked at heaven’s door and confronted the Messiah: “Why are you taking so long? Don’t you know humankind is waiting for you” “It is not me they are expecting,” answered the Messiah. “Some are waiting for wealth and riches; others for power to lord over others; or for a kingdom of their own fantasies. No, they are waiting for the realization of their own foolish dreams, not the dream of the Messiah for them.”
The Rabbi came back to earth, gathered his disciples and forbade them to despair: “Let us begin to dream God’s dream for us – our true waiting begins.”
Fr. Foulon said that if we are Christians, we can hopefully answer in the same way: “See what we do to the people around us”: the poor are blessed because we care for them, our spouse is happy because we are ready to serve, our children know they can trust us and find security in our parental and marital love, our neighbors feel accepted by our thoughtfulness and kindness, the new employee in the office knows that there is always a helping hand and our friend trust that there is a listening ear.
To conclude: “It is not the word that matters, but how you say it that matters.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle A
Back to: Third Sunday of Advent (Year A)