We celebrate the 3rd Sun of Advent, just two weeks til Christmas. Are you wanting, are you ready for the coming of Jesus? Indeed for us human beings, it is easy for us to get so busy in this season that before we know it Christmas is here, and we have hardly prepared. Have you taken time to pray and reflect on what it means for Jesus to come? Are you ready and wanting Him to come, with all your heart? It is easy to kind of go through the motions in Advent and Christmas- something we have probably done many times over the years- and so we can kind of know what to expect.
But today in this homily I don’t just want you to listen, I want you to actively listen. I want you to reflect for yourselves and do what I ask you to do, and to pray, pray that you too will become ready for the coming of Christ.
I ask you to imagine you are a 1st century Jew. For centuries, grandparents and parents, have been telling their children about all the many powerful works of God- saving their ancestors in the exodus through the Red Sea, feeding them bread from heaven and giving them water from a rock, and leading them to the promised land. They knew all the miracles God had worked through the prophets, like Elijah revealing the power of God over the idol Baal. They believed it was God’s providence which made Queen Esther save her people. The good Jews knew all the prophecies of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Hosea, and all the prophets over the years. They especially knew those which described the coming of the promised Messiah, like Daniel, one of the last Old Testament prophets, who revealed the time that the Messiah would come.
Likewise, the Jews knew the characteristics of the coming Messiah, for example as Isaiah in our 1st reading declares: the “eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared, the lame will leap, the mute will sing”. They knew what the Savior would do when He came, and they were waiting in great anticipation.
And now, in the time of Jesus, the Jews heard the preaching of John the Baptist, the summation of all the Old Testament prophets, announcing that the time had come, the Kingdom of God is at hand! Can you imagine the relief and excitement in their heart? We too are called to have that same kind of excitement.
Our Gospel says that when John the Baptist was in prison, he heard the works that Christ had done. So he sent his followers to ask Jesus, “Are you He who is to come, or should we look for another?” And Jesus told them to respond with what they had heard and seen: “the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear- notice how those are the exact characteristics and mighty works that the good Jews knew the Messiah would do. But also notice how Jesus goes on for them to say also that “the dead are raised, the poor have the good news proclaimed to them”. Through the prophets God made the blind see, the deaf hear, healed the lepers, etc, but none of the prophets had raised someone from the dead. To raise the dead was something only God could do, so Jesus is saying that He is not just another prophet through whom God works, but that He himself does the work of God because He IS God.
When the Son of God comes- the blind will see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, miracles after miracles will occur when Jesus comes. We, as Christians, believe that God who Has come 2000 years ago, who will come again on the last day; BUT who also wants to come among us in a new and deeper way. Are you and I that anticipating, are you and I believing, wanting, and indeed expecting miracles to happen to us when He comes anew?
A couple of weeks ago I went on a retreat, it was a silent retreat- just me, God, and a Spiritual director. I was asked to do what Ignatius of Loyola calls- Imaginative prayer. Imaginative prayer is when one puts themselves into one of the scenes of Jesus. The Scripture I turned to was Mt. 15: 29, and as I read this to you, I ask you to imagine the scene- recognize what the ground look like, what kind of day it is, and imagine yourself in the scene as one of the characters- you can be any character. “Jesus walked by the Sea of Galilee, went up on the mountain, and sat down there. Great crowds came to him, having with them the lame, the blind, the deformed, the mute, and many others. They placed them at his feet, and he cured them all. The crowds were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the deformed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind able to see, and they glorified the God of Israel”.
In this passage, I put myself as one of the disciples. I was sitting off to the side of Jesus about 10 feet away. I could see droves of people coming up the mountain to see Jesus, many looked just like me. I could see people struggling, falling, but picking up again and carrying others who couldn’t walk up the steep mountain. I could see the perseverance on their face, knowing they were almost there. Then I turned and saw Jesus with such love and compassion on his face. He didn’t grow tired, he didn’t look up to see how many more were coming up the mountain, he simply healed every single person. There were some who were so ugly and gross, but Jesus didn’t see their ugliness, with love and tenderness He healed every single person who came to Him. I thought to myself, this man can do anything. There is no limit to what He can do. In my imagination, I saw them running, leaping, skipping down the mountain shouting for all to hear, ‘look at me now, look what Jesus did for me’. The people still coming up the mountain seemed to pick up their pace, excited to see what Jesus would do for them.
Then in my prayer I was convicted to let Jesus loose don’t domesticate Jesus, don’t limit what He can do, let Him loose and do whatever He wants to do in me.
Will you join me in praying: Come Lord Jesus, come in your power, you have full reign in me, do whatever you want to do. I offer you my brokenness, my lack of faith, I offer you my doubt and all the many ways I limit what you can do in me. I am sorry Lord for limiting you. Heal me, make me whole, do great things in me. You have full reign, do all that you desire to do in me.BACK TO LIST