December 11: Rejoice, a Sunday Scriptures blog

Today in the Gospel, the imprisoned John the Baptist sends his disciples to ask Jesus, “are you ‘the one…or should we look for another?’”  There is a bit of a puzzle here: Jesus and John are relatives whose mothers were cousins, and the story goes that Mary visited Elizabeth, John’s mother, when both were pregnant. So if we assume they knew one another, why is John asking if Jesus is the one? Some Scripture scholars suggest that John was expecting a different kind of messiah than Jesus was turning out to be. Perhaps John expected a fierce messiah like the one he preached about, who “with winnowing fan in his hand … will clear the threshing floor…” (Mt.3:12). Jesus tells John’s disciples, “Blessed is he who takes no offense at me.” He goes on to assure John’s disciples that yes, he is “the one.” The proof Jesus gives them is that he is doing that work which Psalm 146, our Responsorial Psalm, speaks about: The Lord … gives food to the hungry … gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down. I wonder if those disciples of John liked that answer. If you are like me, there are times when I’d prefer a different kind of Jesus. I’d like a Jesus who would wipe out evil-doers and solve all our huge problems with a wave of his hand. The Jesus who Scripture gives us instead is a companion, someone who accompanies us and strengthens us as we do the heavy lifting needed to create a moral society and solve complex issues. The Jesus we meet in our Gospels models for us what kind of humans we can be at our best: generous, humble, forgiving, self-sacrificing, loving. We invite this Jesus into our lives this week, on Advent’s rejoice Sunday. What insight do I need this week from this Lord who gives sight to the blind? What burden do I need lifted by the Lord who raises those who are bowed down? What divine encouragement do I need as we continue to wait, not only for Christmas, but for His promised and still-incomplete peaceable kingdom?

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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