Gospel Reflection Dec 15 – Deacon Don
Sunday, December 15
Third Sunday of Advent
Matthew 11: 2 – 11
When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ,
he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question,
“Are you the one who is to come,
or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Go and tell John what you hear and see:
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.
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”
As they were going off,
Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John,
“What did you go out to the desert to see?
A reed swayed by the wind?
Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing?
Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet?
Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you;
he will prepare your way before you.
Amen, I say to you,
among those born of women
there has been none greater than John the Baptist;
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”
Today is called “Gaudete Sunday,” which means “Rejoice!” Yet, within this one day of rejoicing, Advent remains a penitential season. We are asked to be penitent in the manner we prepare for the coming celebration and prepare ourselves to welcome the coming of the Lord. We may not have fasted or done the traditional things we might do during Lent, but we are asked to solemnly prepare. Our parish offers one important opportunity to prepare by attending our evening prayer and Penitential Services with the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Sunday beginning at 5pm. What better way to prepare and build on the excitement as we anticipate the celebration of Jesus’ coming among us?
John the Baptist was a man of strong conviction who prepared as evidenced in today’s Gospel. Jesus describes John as one of the greatest persons ever born. Yet John was part of the Old Testament and missed the privilege of living in the post Jesus era. We have that privilege. We could do well to emulate John in preparing ourselves for Jesus to become really part of our lives. Like most of us, he was not of high birth — rich, famous, glamorous, or followed in pop culture. Yet, he attracted many people to go out to listen him, to be challenged by him, and to have their lives changed by his words. In this way, we share John’s mission. We are called to prepare the way for Jesus to come into our own hearts. Once we are prepared, we can go out as John did and make the joy of salvation known to others — not an easy thing to consider and then — do. Christmas is a time of gifts — both giving and receiving. Let us make sure that among the gifts we offer to others is some of our Christian joy which we ourselves have received.
-Deacon Don Poirier