Saturday, December 10, 2022

Are you the one, or show we wait for another?


On the Third Sunday of Advent, originally called Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice. One fitting way to do so is lisren to joyful stories, such as the time Jesus was checking on the well-being everyone in heaven. 

He begins by checking in with Mother Teresa and sure enough, and she is having a grand time with all her friends. Then he checks in on Martin Luther, who is also having a happy time with all his loved ones around the dinner table. On his way to see John the Baptist, he comes across a man sitting in a corner crying. Shocked that anyone could be upset in heaven Jesus walks over to the gentleman and asks: "What’s the matter? You shouldn’t be crying in heaven. This is a happy place. Do you realize that there are people here who went to church fifteen times a week to get up here. What if they all started crying too? You should stop that right now or you'll bring the morale of the whole place down."

The man replied, "I'm so sorry. I just can't find him anywhere and I've looked all over." "What do you mean? Who can't you find?" ask Jesus.

The man wipes the tears from his eyes and says: "When I was down on Earth I was a carpenter. I had this boy that I loved with all my heart and when he grew up, I wanted him to go into the family business with me. Then when he turned thirty he went off with a group of guys, I think there was about twelve of them, on some adventure... And he died!... He died for goodness sake. I don't know, I just thought that once I got up here I would find him."

With this confession, Jesus, with tears flowing down his face, shouts, "Father!? How I've missed you!" The tearful man jumps to his feet and exclaims, "Pinocchio! I can't believe you're here!"

Humorous story. Certainly about rejoicing. And surprisingly it does illustrate what is going on in the gospel.

A gospel whenever I hear it, I wonder, why would John the Baptist need to send his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the one who is to come, or is there another?”

After all, did John not leap in his mothers womb when Jesus drew near in Mary’s womb? When John was baptising Jesus, did he not see the heavens open and hear God the Father proclaim, this is my son, with whom I am well pleased?

I am sure John recalled all that. But like the story of Jesus mistaking Geppetto for his earthly father, Joseph, we can draw conclusions that are not accurate.

What I mean is there are certain expectations. In John the Baptist’s case, he is in prison, waiting to be executed. He knows Jesus. He even claimed, “Look, there is the Lamb of God.”

But scripture told him that the Messiah who would come from the House of David, would re-establish David’s kingdom, a kingdom that would never end; a kingship that would not have to depend on Rome’s permission, as King Herod’s did. So there was an expectation Jesus would come with an army, military might as David did when he established his kingdom.

The answer John receives back is neither  a ‘yes’ or ‘no.”’ Rather he is told: “Go tell John what you hear and see: the blind will receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news brought to them.

In other words, those who seek the Messiah by looking for one who comes with power and  authority will only be disappointed.

But John’s question does not end there. As it is for any gospel passage that we read, it always done in context of our life. Sometimes it is comforting, other times it is challenging, and occasionally we are left with a message to ponder.

Today, John the Baptist through Matthew’s gospel, is asking us some vital questions before we stand at the manger this Christmas. He is asking: “If someone asked you today, Are you a Christian? Are you a follower of Jesus? Are you a conveyor of good news to those in physical, emotional or economic need? Or should the world wait for another?”

Profound questions. Since Jesus wants followers not admirers, the only correct answer is acknowledging that you tried to follow the command Jesus gave his disciples before he was arrested: “Love one another, as I have loved you, by doing this everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (John 13:33-35)

If we do this, there will be no tears, only great joy in heaven and on earth.

Commentary based on readings found in Common Lectionary # 3 - Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10;  Psalm: 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10;  James 5:7-10;  Matthew 11:2-11

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your Comments

Resentment to Gratitude

  Resentment to Gratitude  Perhaps the most significant conversion one can undergo is the movement from resentment to gratitude. Let me expl...

Popular Posts