Wednesday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Luke 7:18-23

The Messengers from John the Baptist


….That must be the reaction of John the Baptist while in prison. He had announced Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God, powerful and ready to judge the evildoers and set the wrongs right. And what was Jesus doing? going around preaching, healing a preacher without a home, surrounded by a bunch of strange men he called disciples. No wonder that he asked, “’Are you the one?”

The answer he got told him that Jesus was indeed the fulfillment of the prophets of old that he was the one whom generations had waited for, even though he did not appear with power and might as most Jews thought he would.

No, it is not easy to overcome prejudices and accept realities. In a few days we celebrate Christmas and look at a cute baby in a manger. Is that the Savior? We easily forget that this baby grew and became a powerful, challenging teacher who finally gave his life for us on the cross. And we still have difficulties to recognize him in other situations. When we see a beggar, a suffering patient in the hospital, a prisoner – we may also ask like John, “Are you the one?” John’s question is our question. And Christ’s answer him is his answer to us. Are we able to see beyond the simple appearance and detect our Savior who continues to baffle us at times? (Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD Bible Diary 2004)


December 14, 2016 Wednesday

A friend who was mourning over the death of her mother came to me lamenting over the inability of any medical or spiritual help to heal her mother and she was asking why.  John the Baptist would have experienced the same while in jail. This man of great faith who testified to Jesus’ greatness and paved the way for the tremendous conversion of thousands also underwent his own dark night of unbelief. We should not be surprised when we too doubt. Even the strongest faith is tested by life’s difficulties and responsibilities. Moments of questioning can lead to an examination of our lives: detecting failings, darkness, and wickedness to strengthen our faith.

St. John of the Cross is one example. Once jailed in a monastery, he was kept under a brutal regimen that included public lashing before the community and severe isolation in a tiny stinging cell, barely large enough for his body. Except when rarely permitted an oil lamp, he had to stand on a bench to read his breviary by the light coming through the hole from an adjoining room. He had no change of clothing and had a penitential diet of water, bread and scraps of salted sh. During this imprisonment, he composed a great part of his most famous poem Spiritual Canticle, as well as a few shorter poems.

The good news is that we can overcome our doubts. Jesus lived in order to earn the first place in your life. Don’t give that up to have something far inferior in value. He made the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead raised to life. You will nd in Him much more than you can ask for or desire. (Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD | DYRF-Cebu Bible Diary 2016)


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Reflection for December 16, Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent: Luke 7:18B-23

Reflection: The disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus, are you the one who is to come? Jesus did not directly answer this question from the messengers of John the Baptist. Instead of directly admitting that He was it Jesus told them about the miracles that He does for the people.

We can only guess the reason why Jesus did not directly admit that He was the messiah. But instead of admitting it Jesus told the messengers about the miracles that He does for the people. Perhaps we can attribute this to Jesus’ desire to maintain a low profile so that he could silently do His mission for the greater glory of God.

Jesus could have easily admitted it and told the messengers that He is the awaited messiah. But He never did, Jesus simply mentioned the things that He does for the people. What if we are in the shoes of Jesus? How would we react to the tempting question?

When we are faced with the same situation let us always follow what Jesus did. Let us never take advantage of the chance to be popular. Let us continue to be self-effacing and humble for this is God’s will for us. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


BELIEVERS, DOUBTERS – “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” – Luke 7:19

Jesus said, “There is no greater prophet than John the Baptist.” He said this after John sent his messengers to ask Him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”

Is it human nature to doubt? To question? To be sure of things? See how Jesus replies to the level of John and his messengers: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear…”

Jesus meets us where we are. He knows our need to see, hear, feel and experience.

When people doubt or question you, instead of being hurt or insulted, it might help to show them who you are by what you do. “By your fruits, they will know you.”

Of course, Jesus added, “Blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” And He still went on praising John.

Thank God for people who unquestionably believe in you.

And be patient with your doubters by meeting them where they are. Alvin Barcelona (

Reflection: Have you accepted the fact that not everyone will believe you and that even those who do will doubt you one time or another?  How will you respond to them? Pray to Jesus about it today.

Dear Lord, grant me the grace to know that even when others doubt me, You continue to believe in me. By Your grace, let them see Your great and mighty deeds in me, for Your glory. Amen.


GOD IS GOOD – Last December 11, we read a similar Gospel story (Matthew 11:2-11). The story centers on John the Baptist sending his disciples to ask Jesus a very pointed question: “Are you the one who is to come (the awaited Messiah) or shall we look for another?” There is, however, a very important difference of detail. The earlier reading says John was then already imprisoned by Herod, while the reading for today is silent about John’s circumstance.

Let us focus on Jesus’ response to John. He speaks of the signs of the Messiah. Among these are the blind regaining their sight, the lame walking again, and the lepers being cleansed. The Messiah is “Good News” that is “seen and heard.”

The message of Jesus is no mere discourse but a real experience of God’s goodness. This goodness touches ordinary people’s lives and circumstances and becomes proof that God is present and relevant. No one can debate against an experience.

As we continue in the spirit of Advent, let us beg Jesus to do to us what He did to John. Let us be open to proofs of His loving presence not just in our lives, but in other people’s lives as well. May we rejoice with others for the blessings of God that they receive. Fr. Domie Guzman, SSP

REFLECTION QUESTION: Today, raise your eyes and open your heart wide. Let God bless you by letting you see Him in others’ blessings.

Dearest God, thank You for Your goodness. May my experience of it remind me always of Your presence in my life. Amen.


December 14, 2016

In today’s gospel reading we hear how John the Baptist is dismayed when Jesus appears on the scene and is quite the opposite of a violent Messiah. John sends two disciples to question Jesus on his identity. And Jesus answers by pointing out that his kind behavior towards the sick and the poor fulfills the prophecies about the coming Messiah as found especially in Isaiah (Is 35:5-6; 61:1). This answer resolves John’s doubts.

Now two things are to be noticed here. First, John honestly acknowledges his doubt. Second, he tries to resolve it. In acting thus, John is our model.

As we grow up, we stop believing in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy and the Boogey Man because our minds become more critical and analytical. And this means that we will also question our primitive and infantile notions in the area of our faith. Such doubts are natural and healthy. They should never be quashed or buried. They should be carefully examined and formulated as clearly as possible. Then, like John the Baptist, we have to take steps to settle our doubt, namely, by asking informed Christians, read up on the matter, etc. Our faith must not be blind. It must be clear-headed and discerning.


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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